With 25,000 Americans of Mongolian descent as of the 2010 census, Mongolian Americans account for only a minuscule percentage of the American population (.00008% to be more exact). Most of these families only immigrated to the United States in the 1990's and 2000's as communism fell and the restrictions on emigration were loosened. Despite the people's short history and small numbers in the country, there exists a strong footballing culture among them which includes the existence of the Mongolian Soccer Association of America and ethnic leagues in cities across the United States, including Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. These reasons likely contributed to the Mongolian Football Federation's decision to hold four player combines across the United States with a two-fold purpose: to identify players to sign to Premier League clubs and to identify players of Mongolian descent that may be eligible to represent the various national teams of the country.
Let's meet the man behind the combines: Tim Guercio is an Mongolian-American scout and agent for the Mongolian Football Federation. He is also a midfielder for Goyo FC who were promoted to the Premier League prior to the 2017 season. He's played college soccer for Queen's University of Charlotte (North Carolina) and semi-professionally for the West Virginia Chaos of the Premier Development League, the fourth tier of American soccer. Tim's father Mark has worked in different soccer circles in the United States and is now a coach for Tim's club, Goyo FC.
One of the four combines has already taken place. It was held on 7 October 2017 in Charlotte, NC. The next try-out will be 25 November 2017 in Arlington, VA/Washington, D.C. Two additional events will be held in Chicago and Los Angeles.
One goal of the combines is to identify and sign talent to Mongolian Premier League clubs to fill the spots of four foreign players that are allowed to be on the field for each team at any given time. If players are good enough, they will be signed by Tim Guercio directly. This is not the first time that a Mongolian clubs have signed players from ID camps held in the United States, with American Pierre Robinson being signed by Khoromkhon FC following a similar event, albeit not one sponsored by the MFF. Within the past one or two years, players from a much wider variety of nations have committed to playing in the league as professionalism, infrastructure, coaching, level of play, and exposure have increased. Players from Italy, France, Brazil, German, and Japan, among many other places, are all recent signings.
The combine's second purpose of identifying dual-nationals has been a controversial and debated phenomenon, particularly in recent years with the players' motives, detrimental effect on homegrown talent, and commitment to their non-birth country being common arguments for the detractors. Despite the pros and cons of the practice, it is undeniable that Mongolian has struggled at the international level with the senior men's team typically hovering just above the very bottom of the FIFA world rankings since joining the organization in 1998.
Expect more news to emerge from the MPL Combines as they happen.
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