Dual citizenship player Marcelo Flores has admitted that he is ready to commit to Mexico over Canada, should he be called up to the 2022 World Cup.
Flores was born in Ontario to a Mexican father and Canadian mother, making him eligible to represent either nation. He was previously called up to a Canadian training camp, but declined the opportunity to continue training with Arsenal. He was also named to Canada’s provisional squad for the 2021 Gold Cup, but did not feature.
On the other hand, he’s represented Mexico on several occasions. He featured for Mexico’s youth national team in November, playing in the Revelations Cup tournament before making his senior debut with El Tri in a 2-2 friendly against Chile in December.
He is also currently with the Mexican national team in Orlando, Florida as the senior squad prepares to face Guatemala in a friendly at Camping World Stadium. Wednesday’s friendly against the Central American nation would mark his second appearance for El Tri, however, due to the non-competitive nature of the matches he would not be cap-tied to Mexico.
While he may be keeping his options open, Flores has declared a preference.
"Canada also wants me, but I think that if Mexico calls me to the World Cup, I think that's where I want to be," said the 18-year-old to TUDN. "Right now, I don't know, really. I'm thinking and just preparing for when I'm going to make a decision."
The Arsenal player also revealed his passion for the sport comes from his father’s side of the family, who played professionally at Liga MX’s Atlante. But despite a heavy presence, Flores insisted there is no added pressure.
"My dad doesn't tell me much. He is Mexican and everyone on my dad's side is Mexican. They are very passionate about soccer, they've always loved soccer and they passed that love on to me."
He is currently surrounded by players in a similar position while training with El Tri as Mexican-American figures Jonathan Gomez and Alejandro Zendejas have yet to commit to a nation. But the three have David Ochoa on the roster to look up to, after the Mexican-American chose El Tri in 2021.
The Major League Soccer goalkeeper explained the feeling of belonging to two nations as being never enough of either, though he eventually elected to choose the camp where he feels most comfortable.
"I will never be fully American. Nor will I ever be fully Mexican," Ochoa told The Players' Tribune.
"So it's about where I feel more comfortable, and something inside me feels more at home with the Mexican players."