The Charleston Battery's Fidel Barajas has been selected in Mexico's squad for the 2023 Concacaf U-17 Championship in Guatemala which opens on February 11. | Photo courtesy Ben Clemens / Charleston Battery
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery’s Fidel Barajas was selected on Tuesday night to the Mexico squad for the upcoming Concacaf Under-17 Championship in Guatemala, which kicks off on Saturday, February 11, as countries across the federation vie for a place at the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
El Tri is the most successful team in the history of the Concacaf U-17 Championship and are currently four-time defending champions. A late-season signing by the Battery during the 2022 USL Championship season, Barajas was selected to the 20-man squad after a strong showing in the pre-tournament camp in Mexico City.
The 16-year-old is back with the youth national team after featuring in a pair of friendlies in December 2022 against Costa Rica and Canada and is ecstatic about the upcoming matches.
“There truly are no words to express how important these upcoming Concacaf matches are, having the opportunity to qualify for a World Cup is every player’s dream,” said Barajas. “We just witnessed a great World Cup full of excitement at the senior level, and for me to be able to participate at the U-17 World Cup in Peru through these games, I’m just left speechless.”
The Concacaf U-17 Championship begins with a group stage of four countries per group, Mexico are paired with Panama, Curaçao and hosts Guatemala. The top three teams of each group advance to the knockout stage (round of 16), which then builds to the final on February 26 in Guatemala City. The four nations that advance to the semifinals qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup later this year.
Barajas has appeared in 12 matches for the Mexico U-17 national team, scoring four goals. Since joining the Battery, Barajas has also competed in the Syrenka Cup in Poland and the UNCAF FIFA Forward U-16 Tournament in Honduras with Mexico, allowing him to establish a strong rapport with his teammates.
“I believe that being able to build team chemistry is key to success,” said Barajas. “By getting to know my teammates from different backgrounds, but with the same goal in mind, helps build confidence in each other. 2023 will be a great year for myself as I will give my last drop of sweat and blood for both club and country, my personal goal is to win championships with the Charleston Battery and Mexico.”
After the tournament, the winger will rejoin the Battery for the club’s preseason preparations. Barajas made three appearances at the end of the 2022 season and tallied two assists.