Julián Quiñones, Jimmy Lozano and the upcoming FIFA break

Colombian-born Julián Quiñones is on the verge of becoming a Mexican citizen and thus available to play for El Tri. (Photo by Alfredo Moya/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Colombian-born Julián Quiñones is on the verge of becoming a Mexican citizen and thus available to play for El Tri. (Photo by Alfredo Moya/Jam Media/Getty Images) /
El Tri Lozano Quiñones
El Tri manager Jaime Lozano (right) and top assistant Ryota Nishimura are hoping to have Julián Quiñones available for Mexico’s upcoming friendlies if his naturalization papers come through. (Photo by Lyndsay Radnedge/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

Next week, Jaime Lozano will announce his first El Tri roster since being handed the permanent job on Aug. 11.

Starting Aug. 29, Coach Jimmy will prepare Team Mexico for two friendly matches during the early September FIFA break (Australia on Sept. 9 in Dallas; Uzbekistan on Sept. 12 in Atlanta).

As the Gold Cup-winning coach is not expected to summon any players from Europe, there has been plenty of speculation about which young players in Liga MX might be – and should be – invited to camp.

One player in particular who has gotten considerable attention is Julián Quiñones, a Colombian who is on the verge of getting his Mexican citizenship.

Potential selection stirs up questions of xenophobia

Quiñones, a 26-year-old forward who now plays for Club América, helped lead Atlas to back-to-back Liga MX titles (AP21 and CL22) and was runner-up in last season’s scoring race (12 goals in 17 contests).

JQ arrived to Mexico as an 18-year-old, signed by Tigres who loaned him out for three years before he debuted with the senior team in 2018. Unable to break into the starting line-up, Quiñones was loaned out again, this time to Atlas where stardom awaited.

After JQ helped the Zorros claim the two championships, Atlas purchased his contract on July 1, 2022, and a year later sold him to América for a hefty profit.

When former Atlas coach Diego Cocca was named El Tri manager in February, it was assumed that Quiñones would be drafted onto the national team as soon as his nationalization was completed.

Unfortunately, Cocca fumbled his chance and was fired in June and Lozano took over as interim coach.

At the same time, word emerged that Quiñones had been invited to Colombia’s national team and pundits worried that Mexico had lost the opportunity to bring JQ into the El Tri family.

In addition, the ugly and familiar image of xenophobia (with regard to Mexico’s national team) entered the debate.

Foreigners playing for El Tri

The notion of foreign-born players wearing the green-white-and red has long been a flash-point even though foreigners – primarily Spaniards – starred for the national team as long ago as the 1930s.

However, after Argentina-born Carlos Lara played for El Tri in 1961, prejudice against non-Mexicans suiting up for El Tri won out. It would be four decades before a foreigner (Gabriel Caballero, an Argentine) would play for Team Mexico again.

Since then, the debate has become all too common. One side insisting that naturalized Mexicans have the exact same rights as native-born Mexicans, while the other side decrying the fact that it is humiliating to admit that natural-born Mexicans are not good enough.

One side points to the Constitution with pride, the other lamenting the loss of jobs to foreigners with a sense of wounded pride. All the while, the nine naturalized Mexicans who’ve played for El Tri since the turn of the century have experienced bigotry and bias while playing for their adopted country. That includes Christian Giménez, father of Santiago Giménez, the 22-year-old starlet who scored the Gold Cup-winning goal for El Tri last month. Santi is “Mexican” because his mother is Mexican, although – ironically enough – María Bernarda Giménez is a naturalized Mexican.

As speculation ran rampant – Quiñones had accepted Colombia’s invitation because nobody from Lozano’s staff had contacted him; Quiñones had declined the invite and declared his devotion for Mexico  only to change his mind a few days later – published reports on Wednesday indicated that coach Jimmy had indeed been in touch with Quiñones who confirmed that as soon as he is granted his Mexican passport he would be thrilled to suit up for El Tri.

As the story continued to evolve, it eventually became clear that coach Lozano would issue an invitation to Quiñones for the upcoming training camp is his papers came through this week.

dark. Next. El Tri players seeking new homes in Europe

Now it’s up to the notoriously byzantine Mexican bureaucracy to do its part to push this telenovela forward. For his part, André Jardine – Quiñones’ coach at América – believes the electrifying forward would be awesome with El Tri.