At least nine boys with the Guatemalan under-15 soccer team were denied travel visas to the United States, the country’s soccer federation said.
The team is set to compete in the CONCACAF Boys U-15 championship at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida beginning on August 4.
The players attended their visa appointments at the U.S. embassy in Guatemala City on Friday with “all the documents required to support their applications,” but they were denied their visas, the federation said in a statement. The team was planning to travel to Florida a couple of days before the event.
A State Department official said the agency can’t share details of individual cases because visa records are confidential under federal law. The Guatemalan soccer officials didn’t elaborate on why the visas were denied.
Guatemala will still participate in the championship, the federation said, but the situation is putting them at a “disadvantage by the terms of Fair Play.” The coaching team had chosen and trained those players for this specific event, they said.
The Guatemalan team is set to face the US, Haiti and Suriname teams in the first phase of the tournament. A total of 42 teams are competing this year.
Guatemala is among the top 14 ranked CONCACAF teams, according to the sport’s governing body. CONCACAF is formally known as the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football.
Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2004 are eligible to participate in the tournament.
On Friday, the US signed an asylum agreement with Guatemala that could limit the ability of some Central American migrants to claim asylum in the US. It commits Guatemala to extend asylum to migrants who seek it when they’re moving through the country.
The agreement comes after Trump threatened Guatemala with tariffs and remittance fees earlier this week.