Juan Matute, Jr., Florida-Based Superstar Youth Rider for Spain, Begins Formal Process to Become American Citizen
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
AACHEN, Germany, July 19, 2017–Juan Matute, Jr., the Florida-based youth superstar for Spain, has begun the formal process to become an American citizen but admitted that even if approved he has not yet decided whether to ride for the United States.
Juan, 19 years old, competed at this World Equestrian Festival CHIO, the most prestigious horse show in the world, in both the Under-25 division and at small tour against some of the world’s top riders.
He placed second on Dhannie Ymas with a score of 71.947 per cent in the Prix St. Georges.
He signed the paperwork required to become an American, he told dressage-news.com. An interview will be scheduled later this year before a decision is made by immigration officials on his application.
Even if approved he will retain his Spanish citizenship; dual nationality is common.
Juan lives in Wellington, Florida with his family that moved from Spain six years ago. His father rode for Spain in the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympics.
Juan is in the first year of an online college course.
He has competed in summers in Europe for years, winning the European Junior Championship Freestyle gold medal in 2015.
In addition to some of the top shows, he plans to compete in an international invitational Under-25 during the senior European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden followed by the European Under-25 championships next month.
“I feel a part of two teams,” he told dressage-news.com. “I love the support of the Americans and they treat me like I’m part of their team. But I ride for Spain and am supported by my federation and an amazing sponsor.
“I feel good when the Americans do well and I feel good when Spain does well.
“If my application is approved I won’t make a decision now to change which country to ride for. We’ll see what happens further down the road.”
Juan’s decision to become an American comes just a few months after two Olympic athletes switched to ride for the United States–Ashley Holzer from Canada and Lars Petersen from Denmark. Ashley splits her time between Wellington and New York, while Lars is based in Wellington.