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San Jose Earthquakes’ Gilbert Fuentes called up to El Salvador U-23 national team

Midfielder will get a look ahead of Olympic qualifying.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at San Jose Earthquakes Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Gilbert Fuentes has been called up by El Salvador for their U-23 squad’s training camp, alongside club teammate Eric Calvillo.

While Calvillo had recently committed to playing for El Salvador and was expected to be in the U-23 camp, Fuentes’ involvement is new, as the 18-year-old had not previously been publicly linked to the El Salvador set-up.

The Earthquakes announced a third affiliated player, Earthquakes academy player Damian Alguera, is part of the Salvadoran U-23 training camp as well.

With the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament set for March in Guadalajara, teams are in preparations for the competition. What explains the flurry of dual-national call-ups to this U-23 team when El Salvador hasn’t done it much in the past? I would wager it comes down to U-23 head coach Hugo Perez, who was a longtime head coach for the U.S. youth national teams after a successful playing career, and was wildly successful in broadening the USYNT program for Latino players. But he seemed to butt heads with the U.S. Soccer leadership, and their loss is La Selecta’s gain, apparently.

Fuentes has previously played at youth level for the U.S., but this would seem to indicate he’s either committed to playing for El Salvador or at least considering it. Best of luck to him, Eric and Damian at the camp, and stay healthy!

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