Guatemala plans to play in the Concacaf championship but will have to find some new players.
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 Goal.com. 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 Goal.com'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.
Guatemala, which has been forming Caravans and sending large numbers of people, some with criminal records, to the United States, has decided to break the deal they had with us on signing a necessary Safe Third Agreement. We were ready to go. Now we are looking at the “BAN,”....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2019
....Tariffs, Remittance Fees, or all of the above. Guatemala has not been good. Big U.S. taxpayer dollars going to them was cut off by me 9 months ago.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2019
Later Friday, Guatemala signed the agreement, according to Reuters.
Concacaf is hosting the championship from August 4-11 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.