FRISCO - He only turned 18 last week, but Jesus Ferreira has wasted no time in taking the steps to officially put his name into consideration for the U.S. Men’s National Team program.
The Homegrown is Colombian by birth but has spent the majority of his life in the U.S. after his father, David, signed for FC Dallas in 2009. When his father left Dallas at the end of 2013, Jesus, his mother and two younger brothers all stayed in Frisco so he could remain in the FCD Academy. As a minor up until last week, he was unable to file for U.S. citizenship - something he planned on doing regardless of the country eventually he chooses to play for. Without it, he was unable to represent or fully consider the U.S. National Team on the international stage, despite a call-up to the U-17s for a camp in 2016.
Ferreira says he began filling out the paperwork in November so that when his birthday came on Dec. 21, he could send it off to begin the official process. Although his citizenship has not been finalized yet, its impending status has piqued the interest of those at U.S. Soccer, including Tab Ramos who has now called the Homegrown to camp as he prepares for the U-20 World Cup in May.
"I'm blessed to have the opportunity to go there and have a camp with them. I'm looking forward to seeing how it is, how it works, how the guys are, the coaching staff and just take that experience in,” Ferreira said by phone from his native Colombia this week. “I feel like the U.S. has been [pursuing me] for awhile now and they know how I play. Right now, I'm just waiting to see if they even have me in their mind, if I have the possibility to play.”
Ferreira stresses, though, that his call-up is about testing the waters and not indicative of a decision to who he will represent - though he confirmed that the Colombian Federation has not reached out to him.
"I think it's more of where I feel more comfortable and happy,” he said of what will be his determining factor when the time is right. “Obviously I've talked to my family and heard what they think of the situation, which one they think would be better for me, but it's also just going to be me sitting down with myself and thinking about which one will make me happy.”
Watching his teammates Paxton Pomykal and Brandon Servania play a major role with the U-20s in November and the upcoming U-20 World Cup in May could, however, play a role in his decision. Ferreira could represent the U.S. at the U-20 World Cup and still not permanently cap-tie himself to the Americans, but it would put more definition to his current open eligibility state.
If he played in the World Cup and then wanted to then represent Colombia later on, he would have to file a permanent one-time switch with FIFA. This is the same process Jesse Gonzalez went through in 2017 to permanently associate himself with the U.S. after representing Mexico at the U-20 World Cup in 2015.
It does not solidify his choice permanently, but it’s a serious step in choosing one over the other.
“The dream of a soccer player is to play in the World Cup,” Ferreira said. “To see that the U-20 World Cup is just around the corner in a few months, it's kind of like, 'Where am I going to go? Who am I going to choose?’”