Alex Roldan turned down an invitation to join the Guatemala national team, possibly as soon as this summer’s Gold Cup, according to a reporter who covers the team. Although the exact reasoning is not clear, the indication is that Roldan is more focused on helping the Seattle Sounders get through a potentially tricky period during this summer’s Gold Cup than on playing international soccer.
A LA FUERZA NI LA COMIDA— Carlos Marín (@carlosmarin_gt) May 21, 2021
ALEX ROLDAN ha respondió a @fedefut_oficial SELECCION
“NO TENGO TIEMPO PARA JUGAR CON GUATEMALA”
“QUIERO SOLO PENSAR EN MI CLUB @soundersfc_es”
“NO PUEDO ACEPTAR NINGUNA INVITACIÓN NI CONVOCATORIA A VENIR A LA SELECCIÓN”
♂️ ni modo pic.twitter.com/lmZpcUNHvK
Roldan was born and raised in the United States, but is potentially eligible to represent either El Salvador or Guatemala through his parents. It does not appear as though he’s made an attempt to get a passport for either country, though, and obtaining the necessary paperwork in time for the Gold Cup would have likely required some sort of expedited process.
Guatemala technical director Amarini Villatoro was apparently hoping to do just that, though, and even watched the Sounders-LA Galaxy match earlier this year and met with Roldan afterward.
Beyond wanting to remain with the Sounders during a time when they’re likely to be already short-handed, Roldan may also be holding out some hope that his improved form grabs the attention of the USMNT. Although the Americans are reasonably deep at right back — both Sergino Dest and DeAndre Yedlin could be starting for Champions League teams next year, while Bryan Reynolds and Reggie Cannon are both rising stars — Roldan is the type of player whose self-confidence is unlikely to allow him to settle for a second-best option. Roldan, after all, chose to trial with the Sounders over a more secure option of joining a different MLS team after being cut and eventually overtook one of the league’s best right backs to earn the starting spot here.
Roldan is now enjoying a breakout season in which he’s been arguably the best right back in the league, himself.
The prospect of playing alongside his brother is probably a decent part of why he chose to give the Sounders another go and it could well be why he’s not ready to give up on repping the United States.
While Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer stopped short of confirming any of this, he did provide some further insight into why Roldan might turn down an invitation. Schmetzer said the coach’s recently met with Roldan about this possibility and Djimi Traore was pointed in saying that representing a national team carries added weight.
“You have to make that decision from your heart,” Schmetzer recalled Traore saying. “It’s about the country you represent, if you don’t think you can get a chance with the U.S. and want to try with Guatemala, you have to commit fully. These are national team appointments, this was a big deal for him. We’ll see how it all plays out. If Alex goes to Guatemala and has a big role, I’d be happy for the kid.”