Double nationalty often means a dilemma for players who want to be international.
Juan David Fuentes, this week, is having a week he’ll remember forever and will probably
result in a very crucial decision in his promising athletic career. The current FC Barcelona U-15s forward received a call from Spain’s U-15s to go to Madrid for a selection trial and this gained a lot of media attention for the young player in the last few days.
Big named sports newspapers in Spain like “Sport” and “Mundo Deportivo” have started to
look into the backstory of the Spanish-Colombian jewell and his journey through Marcet,
highlighting the fact that he scored over 100 goals in one season playing at our academy. They also revealed the curious personal fact about the player: a footballer who wasn’t used to playing in boots.
The news of his call-up to the Spanish squad crossed the Atlantic quickly to his birthplace of Colombia. Given his promising future, the Colombian media, certain that Juan David will turn into an elite player, raised an alarming voice in front of the possibility of him competing for the Spanish national squad instead of Colombia’s. Various media outlets in the country started to compare this case with Leo Messi’s, who also was able to compete with either Spain or Argentina. Another one of Spain’s big papers “As”, also made some noise about the “war” between the two national sides about the situation regarding the Marcet scholar.
A new chapter was added to this story in the early 2019. Juan David Fuentes got a call from the U-17 National Team, but this time, it was Colombia’s. The player attended bringing joy for the ‘cafeteros’ supporters.
Juan David, who’s father is Spanish and mother Colombian, isn’t obliged to make an
immediate and final decision. Thanks to FIFA’s regulations players at a young age don’t have to make early decisions about which national side that they select to compete for. First of all, if a player is called up to youth level competition for a national side, it is not linked to the senior squad. There have been multiple cases of footballers playing at youth level of a national and then go on to play for the senior side of another. The only case in which the article 8.1 of FIFA’s regulations prevents possibility of changing national squads is:
“If a player holds more than one nationality, adopting the nationality of another country or, by having various nationalities, is able to selected by various national teams, may put into action, just once, the right to request the authorisation to play international matches with another association of which the player holds nationality, under the following conditions:
a) A player has the right to request a change in association only if the player hasn’t taken part (full-match or partial) in an international “A” match in an official competition representing the current association, and if in the moment of his first match, partial of complete, in an international match of an official competition representing said association he therefor takes this nationality of the country of which they request authorisation.”
So Barça’s forward has many years to continue to improve as a footballer and make his final decision, even though this is a common thing that happens in international football. But without a doubt it’s going to be a decision that both Colombia and Spain are eager to know about.