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USMNT prospect Gedion Zelalem on Arsenal’s roster for Red Bulls match

Jul 23, 2014, 5:49 PM EDT

Gideon Zelalem

Seventeen-year old U.S. Men’s National Team prospect, Gedion Zelalem, has made Arsenal’s 20-man roster for Saturday’s friendly against the New York Red Bulls.

Zelalem will be part of a Gunners squad that includes Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Mathieu Flamini, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere but is without fellow stars Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski, Serge Gnabry as well as Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, who are recovering from injury.

US coach Jurgen Klinsmann has long coveted Zelalem and the 17-year old looks to be next in line to don the Stars & Stripes. Born in Germany to parents of Ethiopian descent, the Arsenal midfielder lived in Washington D.C. area from age 9 to 15. Zelalem’s father, Woldyes, is rumored to be trying to obtain US citizenship. If Woldyes manages to do so before his son turns 18,Gedion will automatically become a citizen through the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which “serves to facilitate the acquisition of US citizenship of the foreign-born children of US citizens – both biological and adopted – who did not acquire citizenship at birth.”

Zelalem made his first-team bow for Arsenal in a January FA Cup match against Coventry City and has been an unused substitute in three Premier League matches. He signed a first-team contract with the North London club this past March.

Arsenal and the Red Bulls are set to kick-off Saturday at 5pm ET in Red Bull Arena. Below is the Gunners match roster in full:

GOALKEEPERS: Damien Martinez, Wojciech Szczesny

DEFENDERS: Hector Bellerin, Kieran Gibbs, Isaac Hayden, Carl Jenkinson, Ignasi Miquel, Nacho Monreal

MIDFIELDERS: Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Abou Diaby, Mathieu Flamini, Kristoffer Olsson, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Jon Toral, Jack Wilshire, Gedion Zelalem

FORWARD: Chuba Akpom

  1. jucam1 - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    The United States of Germany Futbol Team!… Good for JK, he knows he needs to get his team to be legit by playing in good leagues, and since the US born guys aren’t good enough he’s adopting a whole squad of Germans. The MLS needs another 30 years to be in the top 10 leagues in the world and he doesn’t have that kind of time.

  2. andynormile - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    Arsenal bit light at centre back – no Johan Djourou and at centre forward – no Yaya Sanogo, both are 1st team squad players.

  3. geejon - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    I heard some 9 year old in a Brazilian favela who’s got a mean step-over was treated to McDonald’s yesterday. Surely that qualifies him to play for the USMNT. JK better jump on it!!!

  4. andynormile - Jul 23, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    And also without World Cup players who made it past the group stages, so Giroud, Debuchy, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Campbell, and Sanchez.

  5. jimmycrackcorn99 - Jul 23, 2014 at 9:21 PM

    Never met a guy named Chuba Akpom I didn’t like.

  6. wwsiralexd - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    When is Theo Walcott not recovering from an injury?

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