El Tri Notebook: Who is Richard Ledezma?

Richard Ledezma (Photo by Photo Prestige/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Richard Ledezma (Photo by Photo Prestige/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

The Mexican-American midfielder has caught the attention of both U.S. and Mexican soccer officials with his performances in Holland.

Richard Ledezma has made some noise for himself with his performances on the pitch. The 19-year-old Mexican-American midfielder is currently playing in the Eerste Divisie, the Dutch second division. And now he is the latest target in the U.S.-Mexico battle over dual nationals.

The youngster from Phoenix has flown mostly below the radar, but that is changing now that the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) has contacted Ledezma to gauge his interest in switching to the Mexican national team. Richard carries both Mexican and U.S. passports as he was born in Arizona to Mexican parents.

Ledezma trained at the ZBR Academy before starting his professional soccer career in April 2018 in the USL Championship league with Real Monarchs. The teenager had 247 minutes of game action through the rest of the Spring, starting just five games, but it was enough to capture the attention of U.S. soccer officials who brought him into a Under-20 training camp that same year.

Ledezma crosses the pond

As 2018 progressed, Ledezma’s improved performances caught the eye of European clubs and Barcelona was among those who recruited him. The creative midfielder opted to sign with PSV Eindhoven who in December assigned him to their second division squad, Jong PSV. He is under contract contract through the end of 2020.

Although the teenager played for Team USA at the Under-20 World Cup this past summer, he is eligible to switch to Mexico if he so desires because he already had a Mexico passport.

Some observers have labeled Ledezma the next Christian Pulisic, favorably comparing his dynamic presence and versatility. Earlier this month, he earned a start and scored two goals in a 3-2 victory. Scouts like that he protects the ball well, is good at maintaining possession, and creates plays from the midfield.

It’s worth keeping an eye on Ledezma’s development as well as the recruiting battle that will ratchet up as his performances warrant.