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San Jose Earthquakes’ Eric Calvillo to play for El Salvador

Midfielder called up to U-23 National Team.

MLS: Portland Timbers at San Jose Earthquakes Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Earthquakes confirmed reports out of El Salvador and in the Spanish-language press this week, that midfielder Eric Calvillo has decided to play international soccer for the El Salvador National Team.

Calvillo, 23, is a native of California but eligible to represent El Salvador through his heritage on his mother’s side. He has committed to playing for the El Salvador U-23 National Team in Olympic qualifying, which is apparently scheduled for March. They have qualified for the Olympic tournament once, in 1968.

Calvillo has represented the United States at several age levels in the youth ranks, but players are able to change their national team affiliation once and permanently if previous service was at the youth level or in a non-competitive senior game. FIFA recently instituted a new tweak to switching national eligibility at senior level, but because Calvillo is 23, above the age cutoff for the new rule, which is 21, filing the switch to represent El Salvador will make him permanently tied to El Salvador, even if the U-23 level isn’t the full senior level.

However, it’s a pretty good risk. Calvillo has a better chance of breaking through to El Salvador’s senior national team on paper than he would for the U.S. Men’s National Team, and the country looking for dual nationals like him could be a signal of intent to be more ambitious moving forward. So congrats to Eric and best of luck in this new step in his international career.

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