FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Diego Fagundez entered last week’s Uruguay Under-20 camp with an open mind, and they welcomed him with open arms.
The 19-year-old spent six days in Lima, Peru, and participated in a pair of U20 friendlies with his native Uruguay, soaking up the experience while carrying the Major League Soccer (and New England Revolution) flag on an international stage.
“It was a fun experience,” said Fagundez, who was back in training with the Revs on Monday. “I went out there and I didn’t know anyone; didn’t know the coaches, didn’t know the players. It was just a new experience and the team definitely brought me in well.”
Fagundez saw significant playing time in Uruguay’s two matches against Peru, coming on as a halftime substitute in a 1-0 loss before going the full 90 in a 1-1 draw just two days later. The longtime Leominster, Mass., resident admitted there were some obstacles as the only foreign-based player in camp, but ultimately it was an eye-opening experience which he believes will only prove beneficial moving forward.
“They’ve been playing with each other for a long time, so of course I come in and I’m the new guy on the team,” Fagundez said. “I have to remember everyone’s names and they only have to remember one.
“I got to know a lot of the guys, got to hear about how they’ve been doing down in Uruguay playing, and I’ve been telling them how I’ve been doing here. It’s an experience that you only live a couple times, so it was perfect for me.”
For Fagundez, it was a second call-up to the Uruguay Under-20 squad after a similar two-game stint against Peru back in October 2012. But Fagundez insists that he’s merely exploring his options and taking advantage of every worthwhile opportunity, and that he most certainly hasn’t ruled out a potential future with the U.S. National Team once he gains full citizenship – likely still years away.
In any case, Fagundez has other, more pressing matters to attend to in the immediate future, like doing everything he can to help the Revs secure a postseason berth for a second consecutive year.
“I think that’s the best part (of these opportunities); it’s not that my doors are closed. I already said it – my doors are open, anything could happen and it’s something that we can talk about,” he said. “But right now I’m focusing on the Revs. That trip already passed and I came here to try to finish the year well and try to do everything we can to make the playoffs.”