FC Dallas youngster chooses U.S. over Mexico

FC Dallas youth team player Nicolas Carrera has decided to represent the United States over Mexico, having been involved in camps for both in the lead up to the Under-17 World Cup, which starts in October in Brazil.

The versatile Mexico-born 17-year-old can play in defense or midfield and made his professional debut in USL League One for North Texas SC back in June, shortly before he was called into Mexico's Under-17 squad for the Niigata Tournament in Japan.

Carrera was part of the Mexico squad that won the tournament, but accepted an invitation the United States for their camp in California later in July.

And while there was no guarantee of a Mexico call-up, Texas-raised Carrera is now pinning his hopes on making the U.S. U17 squad for the World Cup. He was named on Wednesday as part of the squad that travels to the Netherlands this weekend for games against Mexico, the Netherlands and Denmark in early September.

"With this I've chosen to represent the U.S. at the youth level, especially now focusing on the World Cup," Carrera told ESPN FC on Wednesday. "My main goal is just to be able to represent the U.S. at the World Cup that's in Brazil in two months time."

Carrera said the decision was difficult, but that at this point "me and my parents just felt that the U.S. was better for me and my career." Carrera started out as a defender, but was shifted into a midfielder at Liga MX club Pachuca, where he moved for a year after he impressed at an Alianza de Futbol trial he attended in El Paso in 2016.

The Pachuca-born player wasn't able to play official games for the club, but cites his time in Mexico as being key for his development and hasn't closed the door on potentially representing his birth country further down the line.

Carrera has already communicated his decision to the Mexican national team.

"We told [the Mexican federation]," said Carrera. "They know the situation. They know I chose the U.S. They were very professional about it. All of them are good guys."

The issue of Mexico-U.S. dual nationals has generated debate over recent years.

Jesse Gonzalez -- a former Mexico youth international -- was called into the U.S. squad to face Mexico next month, while Jonathan Gonzalez has featured for Mexico's first team, having previously represented the United States at youth level.

LA Galaxy forward and Los Angeles native Efrain Alvarez is expected to be part of Mexico's Under-17 squad at the World Cup.