UPDATE (June 23): Alex Roldan has received his El Salvador passport and is now eligible to represent the country in both the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying.
UPDATE: Alex Roldan was officially one of 30 players named to El Salvador’s preliminary roster for the upcoming Gold Cup. Although he’s still waiting on his finalized paperwork which may not be done in time to compete in the tournament that starts on July 10, this does make clear his intentions.
Alex Roldan has decided to represent El Salvador at the international level, according to various reports. It had previously been reported that Roldan had turned down interest from Guatemala — one of the three countries for which he was eligible — but it was unclear as to why he had done that. Now, it seems more clear.
It was not immediately clear if Roldan would be able to gain El Salvador eligibility in time to play in the Gold Cup next month, but this decision was likely more influenced by their advancement to the final round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying. El Salvador is one of eight teams who will be vying for Concacaf’s three or four World Cup spots. They open the Octagon by hosting the United States on Sept. 2.
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer stopped short of confirming the reports — “when he’s ready, he’ll announce something” — but did seem to indicate that nothing has been decided as far as the Gold Cup goes.
“Alex has expressed to me that the Sounders are pretty important,” Schmetzer said. “He’s played eight games and wants to solidify his starting spot. Those are things he’ll have to discuss if he has a different coach.”
El Salvador has been to two previous World Cups, but has not been there since 1970. They’ve looked strong in qualifying during this cycle, however, going 5-0-1 — including four straight wins — so far.
Also likely helping El Salvador’s case is that they’re coached by fellow Salvadoran-American Hugo Perez, who not only won 73 caps for the United States national team, but was also teammates with Brian Schmetzer when both were with the San Diego Sockers in 1984-1988.
Perez also recently convinced former Sounder Eriq Zavaleta to represent El Salvador.