Vela sheds light on absence from ‘El Tri’

CarlosVelaRealSociedad1-Valencia2013 (Getty)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Carlos Vela has not yet provided any real answers as to why he has turned down Mexico repeatedly and will not be with them at the World Cup this summer.

He did, however, recently shed some light as to why he has continuously spurned his birth nation and his reasoning is not all that surprising.

Speaking to Spanish outlet Canal Plus in a wide-ranging interview, Vela scratched the surface of one of the hottest stories in North American soccer these days by stating that he does not like what he has seen from Mexico in recent years. The 24-year-old forward did not elaborate as to why or explain whether his distaste was with the Mexican federation or the team itself, but Vela made it clear that things have gone on behind the scenes that have resulted in the discord.

“It’s a complicated topic to talk about it,” said the in-form Vela, who has scored 15 goals in all competitions for Real Sociedad this season. “In the end, a lot of things have happened and it’s a decision that’s been made for some years now. I think 2011 was the last time I played for Mexico.

“If I see something I don’t like, I prefer not to be a part of it and say, ‘I’m leaving. I wish you the best, good luck and I’ll support you all the way, but I don’t want to be there.’”

Vela has been scrutinized plenty by the Mexican media for not appearing for El Tri since playing in a pair of friendlies in March 2011, but he does not believe that the harsh criticism of his character is warranted simply because he does not wish to play internationally at this time.

“It’s about respecting myself and not look for negatives and say I’m a traitor to my country, because one thing does not have anything to do with the other,” said Vela. “The important thing is to do thing something you’re convinced of and say that, ‘In this moment, I did the right thing.’”

Vela also provided a glimpse into his feelings towards soccer in general, feelings that are positive but not as passionate as other players around the world.

“I enjoy playing, but as soon as the game is over, soccer is over for me,” said Vela. “We could talk about anything afterwards but not soccer, because I don’t feel comfortable and I don’t like to.”

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What do you make of Vela’s comments? Do you see this marriage as reconcilable? How badly will Mexico miss Vela this summer at the World Cup?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, International Soccer, Mexican Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

76 Responses to Vela sheds light on absence from ‘El Tri’

  1. Fed Up says:

    Pretty much confirms what many of us thought–there is something seriously, seriously wrong and major happening behind the scenes with the Mexican federation–be it cartel influence, a massive doping ring, or something for everyone.

    • Chris says:

      Thats such a dumb conclusion. Vela was used as a scapegoat by the mexican federation for that prostitution thing a couple years ago and he hasnt forgiven them. Its as simple as that

      • Fed Up says:

        Pretty sure that falls into the “something for everyone” aspect. And I think half the team having prostitutes with them during a competition is a major scandal–aka something seriously, seriously wrong.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        There is also a difference between public and private discipline, he may have felt that publicizing the whole thing was inappropriate and perhaps political. In theory they could have scapegoated him and not called him in for a period of months but left the press out of it.

        For example, the whole Harkes/ Wynalda thing. Harkes disappeared from the 1998 team, the reasons were not made public, the secrecy may even have caused the meltdown in France, but only years later we found out what happened. Nothing says you have to show him up publicly and maybe he thinks people are pushing an agenda and are willing to throw Vela under the bus if necessary.

        My two cents he probably wants to play but conditions it on some executives being booted from FMF. Americans are a mix of naive about our soccer politicking — how do you get the Gold Cup EVERY time — and indifferent to most of the inside baseball at US Soccer HQ. But in many other countries the NT setup is a very political thing where the executives see themselves as more important than even the players themselves. Jack Warner, etc.

        • DeLarge says:

          It’s easy to understand why we get the Gold Cup every time. Gate receipts, security, and infrastructure. Name one other country that can offer those three things.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            I’m sure England or Germany have the best infrastructure, security, etc. I’m sure their strong economies result in more money made. Do they get to host the Euros every time?

            FWIW, once we start talking about making money you’re wandering into potential corruption. I don’t try to host the tournament because the national federation I run makes more money this way, which maybe I then pocket a percentage of? Or, put differently, the people of country X don’t get to host the tourney and enjoy its presence because the federation makes more money under the present regime?

            Plus, I think if you look at about every other CONCACAF tourney, it moves. Even Women’s Gold Cup. U23 moves. U20 moves. On and on. It’s only the big money Gold Cup that sits still……except it has in the past been outside the USA. 1993 and 2003. The world did not stop turning.

            • Just saying says:

              That’s not a great comparison, economically speaking is not even close. People in Europe can afford the drive from let’s just say England to France or Germany or from Italy to Germany. People in Central America can’t do that. Geographically speaking it’s impossible not to mention the level of poverty or for better wording the lack of funds to fly to go see your country play. That’s why the USA gets it all the time, each team from the region has an abundant amount of fans to make each team feel at home. Not to mention will you pay $800 plus to fly to Honduras or Guatemala to see the USA play one game, not to mention safety. Your comparison is ridiculous. I think what vela touches on is the fact of corruption and how influences every aspect of football. Take the firing of Sven for example he was really never given a chance to implement his style because he received high criticism from the press, death threat from fans because he chose to call up nationalized Mexicans to play for him. Couple of weeks after that he was fired, no one in Latin America likes Mexican and that’s just a small example as to why. I don’t blame vela.

            • Mason says:

              The question was about Gold Cup. England and Germany are irrelevant.

              All of those other tournaments are not CONCACAF’s cash cow. Gold Cup is. If CONCACAF put it in Mexico or Central America and didn’t make as much money, you would see a rash of Carib and CA fed going bankrupt. Heck… Even the Women’s GC has only been played in US, MEX, CAN since 1994, and in 1998 the US didn’t even participate.

            • KillerInstinct says:

              You need to address the blame to the other Federations then, because they make more monetarly having the U.S host it….lets be real..for example, Mexico has no disadvatge when playing the US most of there games are in California or Texas, which pretty much is like being in Mexico. And to compare the situation between the economies of European countries to that of the U.S and all of the other CONCACAF countries is completely idiotic. The poorest european country can do a better job hosting compared to say El Salvador.

            • Lost in Space says:

              The US hosting the Gold Cup is down to the CONCACAF executive committee. They know that all participants (federations) in the GC receive a percentage of the gate based on where they finish in the Tournament.
              The federations (especially the small nations) need as much $ as possible to fund their teams….Hence the US hosting.
              IMO the tournament should move through the region. Having an opportunity to play in Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Mexico, etc… more often will better prepair teams & players to compete in WC Qualifications. Maybe then teams wouldn’t be as intimidated when playing CR & Mex….and could potentially garner points away from home.

            • AcidBurn says:

              This is easy to explain. Let’s put the tournament in Mexico, they have big soccer stadiums, etc.

              Panama plays El Salvador. You’d be lucky to get 10K fans to show up.

              Let’s put that same game in the US. 60K fans will show up.

              Teams get a cut of the gate. If you are anyone except Mexico, you want the Gold Cup in the US as you will get more attendance there than anywhere else.

            • Nate says:

              and the european championship is the third largest sporting event in the world, after the world cup and olympics. europeans routinely travel to other coutries in the EU. You think Americans are rolling en mass to el salvador? Apples and oranges to the gold cup…

    • downintexas says:

      Could be match fixing???

    • Ian says:

      is about the party where some senior memebers of the mexican squad invited prostitutes and Vela was used as a scapegoat to protect all the married players, the guy who gave that order is probably still working in the FMF.

    • Josh D says:

      If it was for cartel reasons, his life would be in danger by not playing. I think there is corruption within the federation, but not drug-influenced. However, another reason he may not want to play is that he doesn’t like what’s happening in the country as a whole and could be fearful. It’s a sad situation. As much as I love cheering against Mexico, this hints at a greater cancer on soccer: corruption. Hopefully, FIFA can iron that out over the next few years.

      • Razak Pimpong says:

        Big lol at the fifa ironing out corruption statement.FiFa is the leader of the bandwagon when it comes to corruption.

      • Oculus says:

        The Cartel don’t kill people for refusing to play for the national team. They kill people, for talking about the Cartel . Which is why Vela is not saying much. This has to be about something he is seeing at the highest levels of the FMF, which smells of corruption. If it is corruption, the cartel are involve.

      • wichin says:

        I totally respect Vela for his decision. It was extremely sad that the leaders of the Mexican Federation used him as a scapegoat. It is widely known that one of the sons of the MF leadership was the one who brought in prostitutes but they did not take responsibility for their actions. Vela is probably saying, “resign and I will play”, to that Mexican Federation leader that will never do that because of all the $ they earn.
        On a side note, As a Mexican American I would support both countries but the bad example of fans, players and federation has left a very bad taste in my mouth. When the US beat them in the World Cup, Mexicans threw rocks at American cars with Texas License plates. They have become cry babies always given excuses for their lack of play. They throw stuff at our players and are never good sportsman other than Javier Hernandez. I no longer support the Mexican Nation Team whatsoever! The USA has class, never give up in a game and are so much better because of the work that is done by their federation. The Mexican Fed is corrupt to the max. If they were better examples things might change but they are not. I am pretty sure Vela has seen all of this and more. I wish Vela would play but I respect his decision.

        • Maykol says:

          1. There are plenty of whiny fans on every national team. Come to this site after any US loss and you will see plenty of lame excuses. Hell even for players abroad (altidore) they will die making an excuse for his awful playing (good for jozy though is that he has improved recently).
          2. Chicharito is pne of the biggest pu$$y$ i have ever seen when he plays with mexico, so when i think of sportsmanship on the mexican team, the only guy that comes to mind is ochoa

        • kevin says:

          The us fan base has class? Ha! You’re probably not even a Mex american. How about the racist chants? Just go on Facebook and twitter for a glimpse of what I’m talking about.

          • Justin says:

            What racist chants? Tell me when you ever saw a fan in USMNT gear give an away fan crap based on race. Using FB/Twitter/message boards as examples of actual human contact is pretty pathetic.

          • wichin says:

            Kevin. I am Mexican-American. You are right in that there are some people that do not have class. It’s on both sides but I have never seen US fans throw bottles at the opponents, use lasers to distract players, throw batteries, pee and many other things as the Mexican fans have. That is what I call no class. I am proud to support and follow the USA. I was born here and have been fortunate enough to see the light.

            • Lu says:

              Lol go to south america dude, what Mexico does is nothing.

              • Reid says:

                Hey Lu good analogy… Compared to hitler, that Stalin guy wasn’t half bad.
                Because someone behaves badly doesn’t make it alright if someone else is a bigger jerk

    • solles says:

      or it could be confirmation that Vela just thinks he’s too good for Mexico.

  2. Colin in MT says:

    No matter what your feelings are regarding dual nationals playing for the US, all USMNT fans should be thankful that the team and the federation are such that everyone feels welcome and wants to be a part of the team.

    • SE says:

      I bet Klinsi could get him to file a one-time switch. If anybody could…

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Except Friedel (not really a dual national but has played English club soccer for years at a high level — even at his age — while pulling a Vela relative to the Nats), Chandler, Subotic, Rossi, and perhaps Green.

      I would agree we that one of our regional advantages vis a vis teams like Canada and the Caribbean sides is that we muster most of our potential pool and don’t have an “international retirement” problem. To the contrary, most American players fade into the background right in front of our faces a la Reyna’s lousy 2006 tournament or Boca limping off against Russia.

      We do seem to be an attractive side to domestics and dual nationals. But do we bat 1.000, no. And just to throw a little curveball in there, is part of the difference that a player capping with us or switching to us can generally expect to qualify for the World Cup? Is this like college sports coach hiring, or college athlete recruiting, where success breeds success, or to be more cynical, it’s a sure thing?

      • Josh D says:

        He didn’t mean that everyone wants to literally play for us, just that everyone who attends our internal camps leaves talking about the equality within the camp – especially the dual citizens. Other countries foster favoritism, racism, and bullying. Our international team, above others, stands for a blend of nationalities, colors, and cultures. It’s something we should be proud of.

        • frank from santiago says:

          just my .2 cents…. but soccer federations around the world are all extremely corrupt. they usually have as much power as the actual goverments running the country. i’m from argentina and i wouldn’t even know where to begin with all the bs that goes on there. the The Imperative Voice is correct when he says that “americans are a mix of naive about our soccer politicking”, good thing though that pretty much everything in the states runs as smooth as it does. Grondona our fa president (arg.) has been in power since 1979!! 35yrs! and i couldn’t even begin to tell you how much dirty business goes on. Josh D, i don’t have much hope of fifa ironing anything out when they are just as corupt. fifa is well aware of the wheeling and dealings in ALL federations. they just get their cut and turn a blind eye.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Rose colored glasses. I pointed out Friedel and Chandler are both prime age players who don’t show up. As recently as last February when the Hex was beginning and we lost away to Honduras there was discussion of pro German favoritism. There have been Harkes/ Wynalda incidents. And then there have been times where players just disappear from the pool and no one knows why.

          I think we have lessened media scrutiny which lowers the pressure to explain selection decisions and absences. Brad Friedel is not constantly questioned about his decision like Vela.

          But there was the 1998 Meltdown, and we have some history, though more turn of the century, with players either going on hiatus or “retiring” from the international game.

          I think the difference is our stuff is generally handled in a quiet, professional fashion with low press scrutiny and no one knows better. Landon is a rare exception where a high profile was kept about vaccilation. I think soccer players would appreciate and gravitate to a quietly professional situation like that. But have people been blackballed or ostracized, or have there been selection tensions or even a team torn apart? Yes. I just think it’s done below radar and gets resolved and we get past it quicker. We don’t wander off into federation politics as much.

          • frank from santiago says:

            i suppose you’re right TIV, brought up a few good points that i know in other futboling countries would be a huge ordeal.

          • Mason says:

            How much blackballing has happened lately. 1998 was 16 years ago.

          • Gary Page says:

            I don’t think there was anything going on vis a vis Friedel’s retirement and it’s not like he would have beaten out Howard anyway. The other things you cite pale in comparison to what goes on in other nations. I think we have been relatively free of corruption and other negative issues because soccer has been seen as a minor sport and the stakes are much less higher than in most other countries. Also, if you look into our major sports, although there have been problems with individual players (doping, felonies, even murder), the last time we have a sports organization caught in a scandal was probably the Black Socks (major league baseball) in 1919 and that was limited to one team.

          • Lost in Space says:

            The Friedel situation is a bit different than others. Friedel, retired from the international game to focus on his club career. In 2013 when Howard went out with his back injured, Friedel was asked if he’d be willing to come out of retirement for qualifiers and he stated he’d only come back if Howard & Guzan were both injured.
            He made a personal decision to focus on club and to allow others an opportunity on the National Team(Timmy & Brad). But if we ever got into a bind I believe he’d come out of retirement.

          • GW says:

            ” I pointed out Friedel and Chandler are both prime age players who don’t show up”

            Friedel was not questioned about his decisions because in those days there was no internet, no SBI to whip up agonized, hysterical nationalistic feelings of loss and betrayal on par with the feelings when John Wilkes Booth shot George Washington or the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

            He was a keeper. Only one plays. And if they do well most managers don’t rotate them.

            Kasey was his equal if not better and Howard was getting very close and Hahnemann, on his day was a fine stand in.

            In a practical sense Friedel’s retirement had little, if any, impact on the team. No harm no foul.

            But if the same thing happened today….guaranteed Armageddon on SBI.

      • Hejduk4President says:

        What are you talking about? Please, read your posts out loud before you hit the “post comment” button.

  3. Julio says:

    Sounds like Mexico has their own version of Landon Donovan 2012 but this version a bit more extreme. Sometimes players just lose that fire for their teams, like LD did for a short time and Ricky Williams for Football and Dolphins. Just happens, they are wired different then other athletes.

    • Fed Up says:

      Vela is still playing, and playing very well, for his club team though. Not seeing the comparison here.

    • Nando says:

      I think you mean Chandler.

    • solles says:

      o god… please just move on from the donovan thing.

    • Michael says:

      I sure hope Vela isn’t LD 2012: that would mean he’s going to come back and dominate the Gold Cup next year while leading Mexico to victory.

    • Gary Page says:

      Since he has no interest in soccer away from the pitch and is not consumed with the game, he would seem to fit the mold you describe and doesn’t seem to be the kind of player Klinsmann would take even if he had the chance. I personally like his attitude regarding the game, but many managers expect a 24/7 involvement.

    • GW says:

      The USMNT would miss Landon in Brazil a lot more than Mexico will miss Vela.

  4. nato says:

    I wanna see Mexico flop to make up for them making the tournament.

    I’m talking 3 losses with 10 goals conceded and only 1 scored.

    we should have let Panama win so mexico wouldn’t even be at this tournament. Teach them humility
    and that the US domination of CONCACAF will be everlasting

    Our empire will last a thousand years

    • Maykol says:

      With julian green as president, junior flores as mayor, and wondolowski as the sherriff, no one can stop the US

    • Solid says:

      your life must be so sad

    • Gary Page says:

      Do you realize that the last one to proclaim that his empire would last a 1000 years was Adolph Hitler? If you’re not being sarcastic, you need to dial it back.

      • Mark says:

        Yeah that’s not going to happen, i think Mexico will go further than the U.S., i don’t even have the U.S. making it out of the group stage. If Panama would of been good enough to make the WC they would have, but they’re a joke, Mexico even beat them in their lowest point.

    • AcidBurn says:

      A more likely scenario is Mexico beats Cameroon, ties Croatia, and goes through in 2nd place while the US goes home. Mexican fans troll big time.

  5. nato says:

    we need more PR for the NT. most of the time the PR on soccer is regarding mexico. but the recent articles and interview about JK and his management of the NT and views on american players in europe is a great turn. get people interested in things SOCCER

    • Josh D says:

      You’ll see that in the next few months. ESPN is already preparing psuedo-documentries. The great thing about World Cup soccer is that there are real stories and drama outside of “he said-she said” player tussles. We’re talking drama about identity, sacrifice, teams, countries, rivalries that date back 100 years, player stories, etc.

      This is a singular focused world event that happens once every four years. The PR engines will rev up soon.

  6. John says:

    Well I’m glad he cleared that all up…..

    • Gary Page says:

      Yeah, instead of shedding some light, it was more of a dim flicker. A lot of vague generalities , but that doesn’t stop people from leaping to conclusions.

  7. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    At least he is a man about. Good for him. Stick up for YOUR beliefs not what others expect you to do.

  8. Darwin says:

    The Mexican Landon Donovan.

    • go euro or go home says:

      yeah, Donovan has done absolutely nothing for the US soccer team. also, he has done absolutely nothing for the domestic league. 2 for 2 – He is exactly like Vela!

  9. Pete says:

    Can people please stop calling him a traitor? Deserter is a much more accurate insult.

  10. Ryan says:

    It’s probably because he’s not even really Mexican. I haven’t seen a passport or birth certificate. I bet he grew up on a ranch in Montana and uses fake tan to get that nice bronze look. And I bet his name is really Chris Velasteinenburgski.

    It’s all a cover-up, SHOW ME YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE

  11. go euro or go home says:

    My wildly speculative guess is that he did not want to participate in the FFM’s ped program.

  12. bob the builder says:

    Tough luck for Mexico…. they could really use his skills

  13. bryan says:

    good for him. sounds like someone screwed him over and he isn’t going to cave in. maybe ESPNFC will stop dogging on him now about being the only player to ever live that didn’t want to go to a World Cup.

  14. Ohmyachinback says:

    I just became a huge Vela fan Good for him and Amen. He’s said that there ard things more important in life thzn football. He has great courage and integrityto take the stand. So many whine about corruption infifa and world football but wouldn’t take a similar stand. Wish there were more like Vela.

  15. Mike says:

    “Fans” disrespecting National Anthems, throwing pee-bags from the upper decks, screaming homophobic slurs on every goal kick, physically attacking their own players and coaches after loses, who wouldn’t want to play for the Mexican NT?