Many Guatemala U-15 Players Denied Visas for Concacaf Championship in USA

Guatemala plans to play in the Concacaf championship but will have to find some new players.
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Numerous players on Guatemala's team for the Concacaf Boys' Under-15 Championship were denied visas to travel to the U.S. for the tournament.

Nine players on Rigoberto Gomez's 18-man squad were denied at the U.S. embassy in Guatemala City on Friday, according to a statement from Fedefutbol, Guatemala's governing body.

"As part of the procedure and preparation of our delegation, today nine players went to their previously scheduled appointment with the respective embassy to go through the visa procedure, presenting all the supporting and required documentation for obtaining [the visas]," Fedefutbol said in the statement, per However, the visa request was not authorized for any of the nine players who are part of the Guatemala U-15 national team.

"FEDEFUT will inform the Concacaf authorities and the organizing committee of the event about this topic."

Concacaf did not return's request for comment, and Gomez declined to comment when reached by the outlet.

Federation president Gerardo Paiz later told ESPN that 11 players–two more than originally stated–were denied visas. Paiz also said the team plans to play in the Concacaf championship but will have to find different players.

The mass visa denial comes at a time when Guatemala entered the U.S. political sphere. Earlier this week, President Donald Trump tweeted that he was considering placing a travel ban on Guatemala after the country did not sign the Safe Third Country Agreement, which deals with migrants seeking asylum. The players were seeking entrance to the U.S. on non-immigrant visas.

Later Friday, Guatemala signed the agreement, according to Reuters.

Concacaf is hosting the championship from August 4-11 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.