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Cuban Update

Whatever happened to the two Cuban players who bolted from the national team's hotel in Virginia before the World Cup qualifier against the USA last month?

Both forward Reinier Alcantara and midfielder Pedro Faife are now in Los Angeles working with an immigration attorney in an effort to gain work permits and, ultimately, citizenship. They defected on different days, unaware of the other's plans, and took separate paths to California. Both have been in contact with Chivas USA forward Maykel Galindo, a Cuban who defected three years ago while with the national team in Seattle.

Alcantara, who recounted his escape to the Post, was driven to Atlanta from the Washington area. In order to get to Los Angeles, he also had to travel by car. (Without a valid ID, he is not allowed to fly.) Along the way, his representative received a call from the Kansas City Wizards, who lined up a four-day workout. It is unclear whether the Wizards have submitted a discovery claim to the league office. Alcantara is hoping to train with other MLS or USL clubs this winter.

"He just wants to fulfill his dream and become a professional soccer player," his rep said. "In Cuba, that was not possible. We're hoping he will get other opportunities soon."

By Steve Goff  |  November 6, 2008; 4:37 PM ET
Categories:  CONCACAF , MLS  
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This has nothing to do with escaped Cubans but both Brad Guzan and Oguchi Onyewu had good performances as their teams won in the UEFA Cup today.

Guzan started and made lots of saves as Aston Villa won on the road at Slavia Prague.

Gooch played the whole game as Standard Liege beat Sevilla 1-0.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | November 6, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update and thanks Joel for the links. :)

Posted by: malartach | November 6, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Great to read that Guzan played so well - sounds like he should have been MOTM. He'll climb the ranks in English football...

Posted by: fischy | November 6, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

I wish both of the Cubans the best. I think that it is more than likely that both will end up in the USL1 at a club like Charleston or Miami (if they stay USL1). They will get at least a look from Puerto Rico.

It is incredibly curious to me that they chose an LA based immigration lawyer as opposed to one in Miami...

Posted by: yankiboy | November 7, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how good either player is if Cuba got its best qualifying result - win against Guatemala in their last outing - after they left the team in Crystal City before U.S. match.

Posted by: billindmd | November 7, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Been reading through the FIFA laws on transfers of players (light day at work):

My question are these: If the Cuban players were registered to a club team in Cuba, as professionals, how can they move to another country under FIFA law and sign freely with another team without compensation to the previous club. Or if they are amateurs, I believe the football association of that country would need to be compensated for the cost of training that player under the age of 23. Either way, U.S. law prohibits MLS from paying compensation to Cuba, and so couldn't Cuba force FIFA into stopping these players from playing in the U.S. if they can't be paid.

My point is: any other player from any other country would be subject to the same FIFA transfer laws, but a Cuban can come in, get green card status and theoretically join MLS without a problem. So how is this fair to young American players who would lose their jobs to the Cuban players? It's not like a German or Ghanian or Bosnian can show up and start to play in MLS.

I realize professional sports are a meritocracy, but I would think the MLS Players Union might want to step in and protect their members from losing their jobs. It doesn't seem fair that they are going to lose their jobs or the potential of having a job because the Cubans can come in to MLS without having to jump through the same hoops as any other foreign player.

Posted by: IamAM | November 7, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

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