Scouting efforts expanding into U.S. 

March, 8, 2012
03/08/12
11:31
AM ET

If you think the recent performance of Mexico's youth teams has been phenomenal, you might be interested to hear that the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) may yet have another trick up its sleeve set to boost that world-class level even further. The FMF thinks it has found a relatively untapped source of Mexican youth talent in a place few El Tri scouts have ventured until recently.

But it is not talking about scouring the Yucatan or Sonoran desert for young prospects. Instead, it's the United States that's drawing the interest of Mexican officials. After years of fringe involvement in the thriving Mexican-American youth soccer world, the FMF is preparing to formally set its sights on talent north of the Mexican border.

"We want to be very aggressive in recruiting for all our teams," said Juan Carlos Ortega, Mexico's director of youth teams, in an interview on ESPN Deportes Radio's "Jorge Ramos y Su Banda." "We know that in the U.S. and Mexico there's a level of competitiveness that allows us to evaluate very well what we have in Mexico, and what we have here in the U.S."

Brent Latham is a soccer commentator who covers the youth national teams for ESPN.com. Based in Guatemala, he has attended youth World Cups from Peru to Egypt, and places in between.
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