There’s more national team talk than usual within the Roldan household.
Brothers and Sounders FC midfielders Cristian and Alex Roldan are reportedly in the mix to be called up for international duty. That’s nothing new for Cristian, who could be part of the preliminary roster the U.S. men’s national team is expected to release Friday for the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament that kicks off in July.
For Alex, it could be an international debut. El Salvador national team coach Hugo Pérez reportedly told a local radio and television analysis program, Fanaticos that, when translated from Spanish, “Alex Roldan from Seattle Sounders will join the national team.”
The Roldans are native Californians and eligible to play for either the U.S., Guatemala or El Salvador because their parents, Cesar and Ana, respectively, emigrated from their countries in the 1980s.
Cristian has 20 caps for the Stars and Stripes. This is the first time Alex has been part of any national team’s consideration, which is likely a tribute to his performance as a starting right wingback for the Sounders.
Alex, 24, was unavailable to confirm Perez’s selections or reports that in May he declined an offer to play for Guatemala. Cristian told media via videoconference call Thursday that his family has discussed the possibilities and ultimately it’s Alex’s decision.
“It’s not my (position) to release any info,” Cristian said. “The important thing for me is that he’s playing extremely well. The fact that two of the three countries that he’s eligible for are knocking on the door is extremely important. People are noticing what he’s doing. Whether he chooses El Salvador or whether he goes with Guatemala, it’s an important step in his career and it’s going to help him long-term in terms of contract stuff and in terms of overall career.”
El Salvador is preparing for the Gold Cup and final stages of the World Cup qualifiers. The latter opens with a match against the USMNT on Sept. 2.
Cristian, 26, was in a similar position as Alex when Guatemala discussed the possibility of him joining their national team when he also had an invite to join a USMNT training camp in 2017. Cristian mentioned former Sounders coach Sigi Schmid guiding him through the process.
“(USMNT) was already at the door, so that made my decision a little bit easier,” Cristian said. “In my heart, I always wanted to give back to the United States because of what they have given to my family. It’s a little bit different for Alex. Obviously two countries that are wonderful places and we are very fond of those places.”
Cristian wasn’t part of the USMNT roster that defeated Mexico for the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League title earlier this month. The 23-player Gold Cup rosters are due June 30. USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter is expected to open camp July 5.
“There’s a lot of competition within the national team and it’s great to see,” Roldan said. “There’s always that added bit of motivation. You want to be in the big games, so I’m ready to rock if I get called in. If I don’t, I’ll be rooting for them and working extremely hard for the Seattle Sounders.”