2016 Women's Delle Nazioni Tournament
One of the most exciting prospects in the U.S. Men’s National Team pipeline is 18-year-old Jonathan Gonzalez. Long part of the U.S. Youth National Team setup, the holding midfielder was recently named a finalist for 2017 U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year, thanks in large part to his breakout campaign with Liga MX side Monterrey and appears to have a bright future ahead for both club and country.
Here are five things you should know about the Rayados’ midfielder:
The son of Mexican-American parents, Jonathan Gonzalez was born on April 13, 1999, in Santa Rosa, Calif. He grew up playing for his hometown club Atletico before embarking on a professional journey down south. More on that later...
U.S. Youth National Teams
A dual citizen of the United States and Mexico, Gonzalez has long been in the U.S. Youth National Team program, often as one of the youngest players in his respective teams. The talented midfielder earned his first international call-up in 2012, joining the likes of current MNT players Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie with the U-14 Boys’ National Team.
Gonzalez has continued to represent U.S. youth teams at almost every level and tasted success in 2016 when he helped the U-18 MNT win the Václav Ježek Tournament in the Czech Republic.
He most recently represented the U-20 MNT earlier this year, when at age 17, he was included in Tab Ramos’ squad for the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Costa Rica.
The youngest member of the first U.S. squad to win the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, Gonzalez made two appearances for Ramos’ side in 2017 and remains age-eligible to be part of the U-20 cycle for 2019.
Liga MX Discovery
While Gonzalez was firmly in the U.S. Youth National Team pipeline, a major turning point in his young career came during a 2013 Alianza de Futbol event held in San Francisco. Scouted heavily by clubs in both the U.S. and Mexico, the event proved to be a breakout showcase for Gonzalez, who impressed enough to reportedly receive Academy offers from 13 of the 18 Liga MX clubs in attendance.
Ultimately, he decided to accept an offer to join the Academy of storied Mexican side Monterrey. While he was taking the next step with one of the top clubs in Mexican football, the decision for him to move at such a young age didn’t come easily for his family.
"I still remember the day I left," Gonzalez told ESPNFC in August. "I was 14, about to turn 15, and my parents were really nervous. I really wanted to go and they were between should we let him go, should we not. But we sat down, had a family talk and we thought it was probably the best for me."
Gonzalez continued the trend of “playing up” with older age groups, slotting in with the U-17 side not long after joining the club and playing plenty with the U-20 team. Pulling double-duty, he ended his time with the younger side by helping the team win the Liga MX U-17 title in May 2017.
Jump to Monterrey First Team
Having impressed at youth level, Gonzalez was invited to the first team’s training camp ahead of the 2017 Apertura tournament. There, he found himself in a unique position while regular holding midfielder and Mexican international Jesus Molina was away at the CONCACAF Gold Cup with El Trí.
Given another opportunity to shine, the 18-year-old took full advantage in the lead-up to the new season as Monterrey boss Antonio Mohamed rewarded the effort when he made the decision to start Gonzalez in the club’s season-opener on July 21 at Morelia.
"He came and talked to me and told me I have a lot of potential, [and] that I would be starting because the starting center-mid [Jesus Molina] was with the [Mexican] national team," Gonzalez said to ESPN FC. "He told me it was my time to take the opportunity and not let it go."
A simple yet effective player, Gonzalez has become a fixture in the Monterrey midfield ever since his mid-July debut, appearing in 24 games across all competitions. The cover in front of Los Rayados’ back line, Gonzalez’s ability to see the game combined with his composure in possession has been revelatory in helping Monterrey clinch the regular season title as well as places in the 2017 Apertura Liga MX and Copa MX Finals.
Thanks to his involvement with the U.S. U-20 MNT and his breakout run with Monterrey, Gonzalez was nominated for U.S. Soccer’s Young Male Player of the Year on Dec. 5.
The U-20 MNT midfielder took part in both legs of the Liga MX APertura 2017 Final as Monterrey fell 3-2 on aggregate to city-rivals Tigres UANL on Dec. 10. With consideration towards his breakout campaign, days later, Gonzalez was named to Diaro Récord's Liga MX Best XI.
ONCE IDEAL A2017— DIARIO RÉCORD (@record_mexico) December 13, 2017
🇦🇷 @amarchesin1 🦅
🇧🇷 Juninho 🐯
🇲🇽 @CJasib 🤠
🇲🇽 P. Aguilar 🦅
🇦🇷 L. Vangioni 🤠
🇺🇸 J. González 🤠
🇲🇽 @EliasHdz08 🦁
🇪🇸 @edgarmendez9 🚂
🇨🇴 A. Hurtado 🤠
🇫🇷 @10APG 🐯
🇲🇽 @OribePeralta 🦅
¿Qué cambios harían?https://t.co/FTKB5xjCjX pic.twitter.com/xVP3yr7bE6
Gonzalez and Los Rayados will try to make amends for their miss in the Liga MX Final when they face MNT defender Omar Gonzalez and Pachuca in the Copa MX Final on Thursday, Dec. 21 in Monterrey.Read more
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2016 International Women's Tournament of Gradisca
|Maycee Bell||D||Wichita, Kan.||Sporting KC|
|Croix Bethune||M||Alpharetta, Ga.||Concorde Fire|
|Madelyn Desiano||D||San Clemente, Calif.||SoCal Blues|
|Coriana Dyke||M||Littleton, Colo.||Colorado Rush|
|Sierra Enge||D||5-4||Cardiff, Calif.||Carlsbad Elite|
|Lia Godfrey||F||5-5||Fleming Island, Fla.||Jacksonville Armada|
|Hensley Hancuff||GK||Edmond, Okla.||OFC|
|Shae Holmes||D||Highlands Ranch, Colo.||Real Colorado|
|Rebecca Jarrett||F||Washington Township, N.J.||World Class|
|Brianna Martinez||D||Albuquerque, N.M.||New Mexico Rush|
|Nohemi Mendoza||M||Las Vegas, Nev.||Heat FC|
|Katie Meyer||GK||Newbury Park, Calif.||Eagles SC|
|Kylie Minamishin||M||Mililani, Hawaii||Honolulu Bull|
|Makenna Morris||D||5-2||Germantown, Md.||Bethesda SC|
|Jenna Nighswonger||D||Huntington Beach, Calif.||Slammers FC|
|Sarah Piper||D||The Woodlands, Texas||Texas Rush|
|Emaly Vatne||F||Sterling Heights, Mich.||Michigan Hawks|
|Madeline Vergura||M||Concord, Mass.||FC Stars of Mass.|
|Olivia Wingate||F||Wilmington, Mass.||FC Stars of Massachusetts|
|Summer Yates||M||Pasco, Wash.||Pac NW|
2016 International Women's Tournament of Gradisca
1st Women's Tournament Delle Nazioni Statistics
1st Women's Tournament Delle Nazioni Goalkeeping Statistics
Updated through May 5, 2016