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Arsenal’s Zelalem becoming a U.S. citizen could be a good sign, right?

May 5, 2014, 10:19 PM EDT

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As quietly as you can report a story that a Premier League starlet could be finding his way into the red, white and blue of the USMNT, The Washington Post reported that Gedion Zelalem was in the United States to become a naturalized citizen this weekend.

Zelalem, 17, surprisingly turned down a call-up to the Germany U-17 team in late March, and Stephen Goff reports that Zelalem was set to pick up his US passport.

From WaPo:

At the time, Arsenal said Zelalem withdrew in order to concentrate on his work with the club’s under-21s. That may well have been true, but international eligibility also seemed to have played into the decision.

Zelalem is eligible for a U.S. passport through the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which “serves to facilitate the acquisition of U.S. citizenship of the foreign-born children of U.S. citizens – both biological and adopted – who did not acquire citizenship at birth.”

In other words, because he is under age 18, he would automatically become a citizen when his father becomes a citizen. His father, Zelalem Wolydes, was a medical technician in the Washington area, and despite joining his son in London, maintained U.S. permanent residency. At some point, he began pursuing citizenship. His application has apparently been approved, and both arrived in Washington in recent days to finalize the process.

He committed his future to Arsenal earlier this year with his first pro contract, and has had plenty of big name folks singing his praises.

  1. mknow406a - May 5, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    Hmmm… if true, that sure doesn’t help his EU work permit status…

    • rickwiese38 - May 6, 2014 at 12:10 AM

      It won’t affect it at all. As a minor, he does not have to give up his German passport.

      • mknow406a - May 6, 2014 at 10:28 PM

        My mistake. I erroneously thought he was born in Ethiopia.

  2. jimmycrackcorn99 - May 6, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    You never know if these youngsters will be a zero or a hero, but things like this always give me a glimmer of hope for the future of the USMNT at an international level.

  3. seanb20124 - May 6, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    So his father does not live in United States, but maintains permanent residency? Whatever

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