The Washington Post

Despite Gold Cup absence, D.C. United’s Andy Najar remains committed to Honduras

Despite being left off Honduras’ Gold Cup roster, D.C. United midfielder Andy Najar remains committed to his native country.

“The next time there is an opportunity to go to the [Honduras] national team, I’m looking forward to it,” he said through an interpreter after practice Wednesday. “Right now, the opportunity wasn’t there for me, so I’ve just got to keep working hard.”

Najar, 18, was expected to make his international debut in the 12-nation tournament, but Honduras decided not to call him into the squad. Miscommunication between the Honduran federation and D.C. United about the day he would report to the Catrachos seemed to complicate the situation, but in the end, Honduras didn’t choose him.

“I was sad when I heard the decision,” he said, “but I understand it.”

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After months of speculation about his international career, Najar committed to Honduras this spring. Through family roots, he is also eligible for El Salvador. Meantime, U.S. fans hoped he would wait for U.S. citizenship, but that is still years away.

Luis Fernando Suarez, Honduras’ new coach, told Najar that “I was a young player and that he would keep me in mind for the next call-ups.”

Najar added that “I was preparing to be with the Honduras team, but it’s not a distraction for me. On the contrary, that gives me more motivation. ... I am happy for my team and I wish them the best in the Gold Cup. From here, all I can do is support them and I’ll just keep working hard, and hopefully down the road, I’m getting a call-up.”

The next FIFA fixture dates are Aug. 10 and Sept. 3-4.

Asked if he would follow Honduras’ progress in the Gold Cup, Najar said: “Of course, it’s my home country, I will always be with them. I will be watching the games on TV.”

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.


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