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D.C. United's Andy Najar turns down Honduras national team call-up for friendly vs. Panama

By Steve Goff

D.C. United's Andy Najar, the MLS rookie of the year, has turned down an offer to join the Honduras national team for a Nov. 17 friendly against Panama, his agent confirmed to the Insider.

The decision does not mean he has chosen to wait for U.S. citizenship and play in the American system. "Even if he had been interested, the timing was bad," said agent Chris Megaloudis, citing Najar's plans to travel to Toronto ahead of MLS Cup for league festivities and his schedule with a tutor in pursuit of a high school equivalency diploma.

"Andy told the coach that he's honored, but the time isn't right. ... He is not thinking about the USA or Honduras. He is continuing to concentrate of his studies and then preparing himself for [MLS] preseason starting in January."

For more.....

Najar, 17, is a permanent U.S. resident but not an American citizen. It could take several years to become eligible for such status. Without full citizenship, he is ineligible to represent the United States.

Meantime, Najar has indicated an interest in training informally with a European club for a few weeks in December or January. There had been concerns about fatigue and the need to rest during the MLS offseason. However, "It seems he wants to go over and train for a bit," Megaloudis said. "We'll talk with United and make sure they're okay with all of it."

England or Spain is the likely destination. Joining a Spanish club would make it easier for Najar to communicate, but his English skills have improved substantially in recent months, and Megaloudis said Najar would be comfortable in an English-speaking environment. A decision on the timeframe and destination is expected soon.

By Steve Goff  | November 8, 2010; 9:39 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United, Honduras  | Tags:  D.C. United  
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Comments

Something tells me that he did not turn down the opportunity because of a tutoring appointment. Either that or the cancellation fees are huge!

Posted by: Modibo | November 8, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

This feels like a "zzzzz..."

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | November 8, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Alright, who's going to offer up their daughter for an arranged marriage to get this kid citizenship ASAP!?! :)

You know I'd already be in talks with my little princess if she was at least 15 years older than her current 3...;)

Posted by: DadRyan | November 8, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Chris Megaloudis is an agent? Wow.

Posted by: B_A_ | November 8, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Atta' boy Andy!

Posted by: bk2erth | November 8, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

It'll be easier for him to get a work permit in Spain, anyway, if he were to play there, since he is from Honduras. In 3 years he wouldn't be considered a foreigner.

Posted by: Reignking | November 8, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Soccer is its own language. If you can play, then you know intuitively what the other guy is going to do. No need for the guy to tell you in Spanish or English. If you can't play, then wait for instructions from the coach or get yelled at from other players. People who can't play always say language is a big barrier, etc. BS.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | November 8, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

He could get a work permit in France, if he agrees to immediately go on strike.

The English accent will not be a barrier. The English accent will.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 8, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Houston looking at Giovanni Dos Santos?

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/7281819.html

All I can say is wow - this certainly fits Leiweike's "go big or go home".

Posted by: Josh86 | November 8, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Maybe it is the wrong Dos Santos...

Posted by: Reignking | November 8, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

This feels like a "zzzzz..."

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish
---------------------------------------------

Really? Feels pretty big to me; possibly the first real indicator that he would prefer playing for the US.

Questions for those who know:

(1) If Najar played in that game for Honduras would that cap-tie him to them forever? If not, is that because it's just a friendly and/or because he is under 21?

(2) Could appearing on another country's national team possibly hinder Najar's efforts to get a green card and then full citizenship?

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | November 8, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

@ I-270Exit1: ???...which accent?

Posted by: soccerman | November 8, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Nothing guaranteed of course. But I see this as big. Andy Najar, right now, shows more confidence on the ball and ability to create chances than all but probably 5 current US National team players. Right now at freaking 17 y.o. and not international experience.

Posted by: JoeW1 | November 8, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

does he need a work permit just to train? It's not like we're talking a loan deal since he wouldn't be able to play until January anyway.

I love this kid. Now if we could clone about 10 more of him we'd be in business.

Posted by: fedssocr | November 8, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

@ JoeW1 - I agree...but there's a big difference displaying that confidence in MLS vs. going at De Jong, Puyol or Vidic.

Posted by: soccerman | November 8, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Guys - I've been away from the board for a while. Love watching Andy play, because if he can play like this at 17 the sky is the limit. But what I wanted to ask is, has there been any discussion whether he is really 17? I know with Freddy Adu there were always rumors about his age, and one way of looking at Freddy's "unfulfilled promise" would be that he was older than we thought, with less upside than we thought. And of course the age thing is a repeating problem with recruits from other countries in baseball. So what did I miss? This been discussed? (And before you start hammering me, I'm not comparing Andy and Freddy skillwise, just wondering if the age question has been aired on this board, as it was in Freddy's day).

Posted by: regularfan | November 8, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, what exactly is different now than it was 24 hours, days, or weeks ago? He hasn't declared the intent to play for either team. He also hasn't given us any reason to believe that he's not being truthful as to his reasoning for declining the call up. Meanwhile, many of you are racing to put words in the mouth of a teenager, declaring that this is big news. Maybe we should instead be silently impressed that he's prioritized certain things over a meaningless friendly. I know I am.

Posted by: DCU_Rick | November 8, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Why wouldn't we want Najar to know that we would be thrilled if he stated intentions to pursue US citizenship and a desire to play for the Nats? In all honesty, doesn't he have a much better chance of featuring in World Cups regularly in his future if he played for the stars and stripes?

I was originally against the greedy salivating over the kid, but if he's even considering pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes I would be hoping that the powers that be, coaches and team mates are having real conversations about exactly how much better of a chance he has playing in World Cups with the US.

Sure, maybe he has a deeper love for his birthplace, and would rather fight for them World Cups or not. I'd fully respect that, and still be a big fan. Just saying that this news may be nothing, but it's certainly more exciting than wondering if Jozy Altidore is going to become more consistent by 2014.

Posted by: DadRyan | November 8, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I call it "zzzz" because of what DCU_Rick said.

Now, I hope he plays for us. I think he's an electric talent, and it would be fun to watch him in our colors, I just think all the reasons his agent listed are legit.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | November 8, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

^¨I'm sorry, what exactly is different now than it was 24 hours, days, or weeks ago?¨

It has been quoted that Najar´s dream is to play for his native country of Honduras.

When someone offers you to have your dreams fulfilled, and they turn it down for tutoring and what not, it seems odd.

Posted by: redskinsux | November 8, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

It has been quoted that Najar´s dream is to play for his native country of Honduras.

When someone offers you to have your dreams fulfilled, and they turn it down for tutoring and what not, it seems odd.


Posted by: redskinsux | November 8, 2010 2:01 PM

*********************

I've followed Najar pretty closely this year I don't remember hearing or reading this.

What is the source for that info and do you know it what context it might have been said?

It seems to me that Najar (or those speaking on his behalf) have been pretty careful about not committing to play for Honduras without ruling out the option either.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | November 8, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Having Andy and Juan Agudelo suiting up for the USA in 2018 would be sweet. Now let's just hope that they stay on the same trajectory over the next 8 years. It is encouraging to see US development programs producing young players with their skills.

Posted by: tcbannon | November 8, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Joel no source. I could search the web for hours sifting through his interviews and whatnot, but it´s not worth it (my internet is awful here in Ecuador).

My point is that MAYBE his dreams are changing.

Posted by: redskinsux | November 8, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

ding ding ding!

Posted by: DadRyan | November 8, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

(1) If Najar played in that game for Honduras would that cap-tie him to them forever? If not, is that because it's just a friendly and/or because he is under 21?

This came up recently in Movsisyan's case, and IIRC (no time to look it up now), friendlies are never cap-tying, so he could still play for the US even if he played in this friendly. Games in official competitions at the full national level are always cap-tying.

Games in official competitions at the youth level prevent the player from playing for another federation for which they are not already eligible.

So if Najar played in an official competition for a Honduran youth team right now, he would be lost to the US forever, whereas if he played in any friendly, we'd still have a shot.

(2) Could appearing on another country's national team possibly hinder Najar's efforts to get a green card and then full citizenship?

I can't imagine that it possibly would have any effect, but I have no specific knowledge about this one.

Posted by: BooThisMan | November 8, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

(2) Could appearing on another country's national team possibly hinder Najar's efforts to get a green card and then full citizenship?

I can't imagine that it possibly would have any effect, but I have no specific knowledge about this one.

Posted by: BooThisMan
----------------------------

Thanks for the feedback on my first question, BooThisMan. btw, I misspoke in my second question, Najar HAS a green card already.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | November 8, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Andy compadre de verdad que estas haciendo la mejor decision en tu vida futbolistica. Yo soy chapin y te digo lastimosamente nuestros paises no nos pueden dar lo que este pais nos da. Adelante Andy y sabes que cuentas con todos nosotros. Translated Andy you really are making the best decision in football life. I am a neighboring buddy being Guatemalan and sadly due to the corruption our countries are worthless football wise. Go ahead Andy and know that we are behind you!

Posted by: silentbat | November 8, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

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