Atlanta Silverbacks midfielder FERNANDO GONZALEZ has been called up to the Puerto Rico Men’s National Team ahead of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches, the Puerto Rican Soccer Federation announced.
Gonzalez will report to training camp in Bayamón, Puerto Rico on August 28 to begin preparing for the national team’s first World Cup qualifying game against St. Kitts and Nevis on September 2. Puerto Rico is part of Group D in CONCACAF’s World Cup qualifying regional tournament and will face Canada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia twice each in group play. The top team after eight games of round-robin play will advance to the next stage of World Cup qualifying.
Gonzalez, a 22-year-old Tampa, Fla., native whose father is from Puerto Rico, will remain with the national team until September 7. He will have the opportunity to play in the team’s away game against St. Kitts and Nevis and home game against Canada.
Although this marks Gonzalez’s first call-up to the senior national team, he is no stranger to the Puerto Rican system, having previously represented the country at the youth international levels. The 5-foot-9 midfielder started three games at the U-20 level during World Cup qualifying in the Cayman Islands in 2008. In 2010, Gonzalez was called into the U-21 national team’s training camp ahead of the Central American and Caribbean Games, but didn’t see any game action.
Gonzalez started the first four games of the season for the Silverbacks, but he has been out of the lineup ever since, because of a foot injury. The former University of South Florida midfielder is expected to resume training with the Silverbacks before he leaves for Puerto Rico later this month.