Jonathan Gómez has the 2026 World Cup in mind, regardless of the colors he’ll be wearing

The 19-year-old left back is one of few players to have played for both Mexico and the U.S. at a senior international level.


SAN SEBASTIÁN, Spain. — When talking with Jonathan Gómez, I found myself in front of a confident, decisive young soccer player. All of his answers came without much hesitation. Jogo, as he’s commonly called, knows who he is, and he knows what he wants.

One particular question, though, did catch him by surprise.

“What is your greatest achievement as a soccer player so far?” I asked.

He stared towards the wall and, for several seconds, remained silent.

To represent two different national teams at a senior level is not something many players have done, which must have definitely crossed Jogo’s mind. Still, he was not convinced that it was his greatest achievement and continued to think.

To play for a top team in Europe is the dream of any player on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. At just 19 years old, Gómez has already achieved that goal. Nonetheless, that wasn’t good enough for an answer either.

I allowed the silence to carry on, while Jogo’s facial expression showed a measure of discomfort with the responses that wandered through his mind. Finally, an idea was deemed good enough to be let out.

His final answer, trying not to undervalue anything he’s done so far in his career: his greatest achievement is yet to come.

While keeping his feet on the ground, Gómez will not conform with little, and has his mind set to excellence. Success at his club, Olympic Games appearances, senior national team continuity — he plans to fulfill all of his objectives.

One thing is clear: he sees himself playing in the 2026 World Cup, a tournament that will take place for him at home.

“To see him playing (in the World Cup) would not surprise me at all,” says Danny Cruz, head coach of Louisville City FC. “I absolutely think he has the quality to be able to put himself in that position.”

The 2026 edition of the most important tournament in soccer will be hosted by Mexico, the United States and Canada.

Growing up in Texas with a father from Mexico City, Jogo’s “home” is in two different countries.

“I feel both Mexican and American, and I feel like I fit in both places,” he said

Watching his father Germán and his older brother Johan play soccer since he was a kid, Jogo has always been close to the game.

At 12, Jogo joined the academy of FC Dallas and played through the ranks until reaching the team’s reserves squad, called North Texas SC, where he won the USL League One Championship in 2019.

The next season, the left back signed his first professional contract, with Louisville City.

It was there Cruz saw him develop.

“When he first got here,” Cruz said, “he wanted to constantly go and join the attack. Maybe not always thinking about the defensive responsibility.”

But Jogo put in the work, and improved significantly. “He likes to joke around when he’s in the locker room, but when he’s on the field, he’s all business,” Cruz said. “My belief is that’s why he’s going to continue to have a successful career.”


Following his brother’s footsteps, Jogo moved to Europe in 2021 to continue his development as a young professional.

Jogo now lives in San Sebastián, playing for the second team of Real Sociedad, while Johan develops in Germany’s third division. The two brothers, two years apart in age, are as close as ever. They’ve both experienced moving to Europe at an early age, they both know what it is to live alone in a new country, they share the same time zone away from the rest of their family.

“He’s my go to person right now,” Jogo said.

Something the Gómez brothers also share with one another: the tough task of deciding whether they will represent Mexico or the United States for the rest of their professional careers.

“We talk about it sometimes,” shared Johan in 2020 in the Keeping it simple podcast. “He’s very hot and cold,” he said then about his brother. According to Johan, one day Jogo thinks that he will represent one country, and the next day he changes his mind.

It’s a big decision. It’s something that could define success or failure in the future. They do know, though, that their faith is tied to each other.

“If my brother went one way,” Johan said, “I’d probably go that way too, and vice versa.”

Jogo is one of very few players who can brag about having played for two senior national teams.

In December 2021, he wore the Stars and Stripes during a game against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Just four months later, he dressed in green, white and red playing for Mexico against Guatemala.

Since all matches were friendly, according to FIFA’s rules, he’s still not tied to any country. At an under-16 level he played for both national teams; with the under-20′s he also wore both shirts; the same goes with the senior teams. That’s as informed as a decision can be.

And both federations are very interested in the player as well.

According to coach Danny Cruz, during Jogo’s time in Louisville, U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter was in constant contact with him, as were representatives from the Mexican national team. “Both federations spoke very highly of Jogo,” Cruz says.

From Jogo’s point of view, the future is now: if he doesn’t play well for Real Sociedad, then he won’t even be called to represent a national team. Therefore, as a professional player “first comes your club,” he said.

And that’s another reason he chose to move to San Sebastián. While he’s still waiting for his debut with Real Sociedad’s first team, he trusts them with his development. “They know what they’re doing,” he said.

Chances will come at both club and country level if he continues to put on the work. Chances such as participating in the U-20 World Cup and in the Olympic Games. Both are tournaments Jogo has very much in mind. The thing is: Mexico didn’t qualify for either of them.

“I only have one opportunity to play in the under-20 World Cup,” he said, “and probably also in the Olympics,” which is a dream that only the United States can offer.

Although those competitions are still underage and not considered cap-tying by FIFA, the USMNT can take them as a huge opportunity to entice Jogo to play for them for good.

For him, a big factor to consider when choosing a national team is being able to fit in. How well can the player fit within the system of play and how well can the person fit among teammates and coaches, is the first thing to take into account.

Nonetheless, he thinks that if the shirt of one national team just “feels right”, then that ends up being more important than the rest.

“Ultimately that overrides the other stuff,” he said.

Jonathan Gómez doesn’t feel like his time to decide between Mexico and the United States has come yet. “A lot of things can happen,” especially in 2026.

The shirt that Jogo will be wearing then is still a mystery. “But I do expect to have a decision made by that time,” he said.