Reading through the USMNT-Mexico rivalry article alongside the Yunus Musah article was quite interesting. As a Mexican-American, I found myself relating to the names mentioned in the ESPN article and Yunus himself.
When I was a kid, I wanted to play professional soccer. It was more of a dream than anything realistically able to happen, but it was exciting to think about. I dreamed of playing for a big club and scoring in the Champions League. I didn’t even think about what national team I would play for.
In this situation, I would say something similar to what Ochoa had to say “in the US, I was Mexican, and in Mexico, I was the gringo.” I can’t remember what movie it was, but there was a line that I found to be true in many situations. It went like this “For Mexicans, you have to act twice as Mexican to fit in, and for the United States, you have to act twice as American to fit in.” It is almost like you have to overcompensate, which these players may have struggled with. Which country did they belong to more, or which one is their home?
Yunus seemed to take that approach differently. He was of many nationalities and was eligible to play for up to four national teams, but for him, “home” was more of a state of mind. It isn’t some physical space like a country you are born in; instead, it is a place you can feel happy in.
It is something to think about. I mentioned that I was thinking about playing for a club and not for a national team. And that is something the players in both articles mentioned. They wanted to go pro, and the headache of picking between national teams is probably something they never thought about. However, they would agree with me in saying that that is an excellent problem to have. To play professionally in any sport is the dream of millions, and I want to see these players succeed in the future.