Arsenal midfielder Gedion Zelalem made his debut for the U.S. national team program on Tuesday, entering in the 59th minute of the Under-20 team's 2-1 win in a friendly at Australia.
The 18-year-old was born in Germany to Ethiopian parents and lived in Maryland for six years before going to Arsenal's youth academy when he was 16. He has made two appearances for the Gunners, one each in the FA Cup and Champions League.
Tab Ramos must figure out where Gedion Zelalem fits into his U.S. Under-20 roster now that the Arsenal product has been cleared by FIFA to play internationally for the United States.
The U.S. Soccer Federation made the announcement of Zelalem's eligibility on Wednesday, and Ramos immediately added the 18-year-old to his list of players heading to New Zealand for the upcoming Under-20 World Cup.
With eligibility questions now answered, the U.S. international-turned youth team coach must find the...
Zelalem was immediately added to the U.S. U-20 squad that will compete in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand later this month, so the timing worked out well. Senior team coach Jurgen Klinsmann had said in March that he wanted to see Zelalem with the grownups before farming him out to the U-20s and U-23s, but breaking into the U.S. setup with his peers is probably a better way for Zelalem to begin what many hope is a long, successful U.S. career. Zelalem represented Germany at the U-15, U-16 and U-17 levels; he was born in Berlin, to Ethiopian parents, and lived there until moving to the U.S. at age 9.
While landing Zelalem (recently rated as the No. 3 prospect in the Premier League by Tor-Kristian Karlsen) is undoubtedly a coup for U.S. Soccer, it's also important to remember that he's far from the finished product.
Here are three things to know about the new recruit.
CHICAGO -- Arsenal midfielder Gedion Zelalem has been cleared by FIFA to play for the United States and has been added to the roster for the Under-20 World Cup next month.
The U.S. Soccer Federation made the announcement on Wednesday. FIFA's decision also makes the 18-year-old eligible for the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer and the under-23 team that will go to Olympic qualifying in October.
USSF president Sunil Gulati tweeted the good news shortly after.
Atletico Madrid striker Diego Gama and Porto goalkeeper Raul Gudino will headline Mexico's under-20 squad at the World Cup later this month in New Zealand, it was announced on Friday.
Liga MX watchers will be familiar with names like Pachuca central midfielder Erick Gutierrez, fellow Tuzos winger Hirving Lozano, Queretaro midfielder Orbelin Pineda and Morelia's Erick Aguirre, who have all started regularly for their clubs at domestic level and were selected in the 22-player squad.