Gedion Zelalem is an American citizen and will play for the United States. The Washington Post first reported the news on Monday night and U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati confirmed it on Tuesday morning.
Gedion Zelalem is now a U.S. citizen. At his request we have started the FIFA process which would allow him to be eligible for the #USMNT.— Sunil Gulati (@sunilgulati) December 30, 2014
Zelalem is one of Arsenal's top prospects and has been a target of Jurgen Klinsmann's for more than a year now. But as badly as the U.S. team wanted Zelalem, he wasn't an American citizen and, thus, couldn't play for the U.S
Zelalem was born in Germany, but moved to the U.S. when he was nine years old. He went to American schools until an Arsenal scout spotted him as a teenager and recommended the club sign him. They did and he quickly rose through their young ranks, making his senior team debut before his 17th birthday. He even played for Germany youth teams, but reportedly wanted to join the U.S. He just needed citizenship.
Now the 17-year-old is an American citizen and once FIFA processes his paperwork, will be eligible to play for the U.S. The Americans have one of Arsenal's best young talents and, if he pans out, the creative playmaker they have been craving. There are no more questions about citizenship or allegiance. He's a U.S. citizen, and he's all American.