Today, the German Football Association named dual German/USA citizen and Arsenal player Gedion Zelalem to their U-18 team camp and to play in a couple games against France. There is a lot of concern in terms of if Jurgen Klinsmann and US Soccer has potentially missed out on this 18 year old with unlimited potential. Here is what we know so far.
– Gedion Zelalem has an offer from the Germany U-18 national team to participate in their camp and play a couple games.
– It is unknown if he will actually take Germany up on their offer. In an ESPN FC article, Arsenal said that they don’t know at this point if Zelalem will join the German team.
How this affects his United States chances?
– If Zelalem accepts Germany’s offer, his status with the USMNT will not change. Zelalem has played for the German U-15, U-16 and U-17 teams before and can play for the U-18’s still play for the US. FIFA rules state that as long as Zelalem does not play for the Senior German National Team, he is still eligible to switch and play for the USMNT.
– On the USMNT front, Zelalem obtained his US citizenship in December 2014 but is still not eligible to play for the USMNT. US Soccer is awaiting a FIFA decision that would make him eligible and US Soccer President told ESPN FC, “We’re going through the FIFA process and hope to have Gedion eligible by March or April. We don’t expect any issues.”
All in all, the news today signals that there is still more to this story and it’s not a given that Gedion Zelalem will side with Germany just because he got invited to play for them today. By most indications, Zelalem is still interested in playing for the United States and the way it sounds, Jurgen Klinsmann says that Zelalem is ready for the senior team once he is eligible. The senior team is more enticing to a young player than playing for the U-18’s but I’m sure seeing Germany winning the World Cup and them possibly bringing him onto the German team. They’ll put together a pretty good presentation for Zelalem to choose Germany over the United States. At the same time, the United States has a pretty good presentation for Zelalem as well. It’s going to be interesting in the coming weeks and months.