Guatemala youth soccer players denied US travel visas

MEXICO CITY — Guatemala's soccer federation says nine players have been denied travel visas to the United States for a youth tournament next month.

The federation says in a statement the boys turned in all required paperwork and showed up for their appointments at the embassy Friday before having their applications rejected.

The governing body adds that Guatemala will still compete in the CONCACAF Boys' Under-15 Championship that begins Aug. 4 in Bradenton, Florida. But it will not be with the "players that the coach already had planned for and who have been practicing." The other teams in the group are Suriname, Haiti and the United States.

The federation says it will inform CONCACAF, the governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean, and tournament organizers of the visa denial.

"CONCACAF has provided the Guatemalan soccer federation the customary visa application process support we provide all of our member associations for competitions taking place in the U.S.," the governing body said in a statement. "We do not know why certain applications by the Guatemalan federation have been denied. While ultimately this is a matter for the federation to address with the U.S. State Department, we will continue to provide any necessary assistance to the federation so they are able to participate."

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