The potential national nightmare is over!
Gedion Zelalem, who officially became an American citizen just before the new year, has jumped through all the hoops and cleared all of FIFA’s red tape in order to become eligible to represent the U.S. national team. Zelalem’s eligibility, which goes into effect immediately, means the 18-year-old Arsenal midfielder is available for and has been named to U.S. U-20 squad for this month’s World Cup.
U.S. U-20 head coach Tab Ramos named his initial World Cup roster last week, but did so with one spot unfilled, in the hopes that Zelalem’s paperwork would be pushed through in time.
“I’m very excited about this particular group,” he said. “It was very difficult making the final decision because there were quite a few players who deserved to go to the World Cup. Unfortunately, in the end I can only select a certain number, and I’m very happy with the selections that we made.”
The Yanks kick off their World Cup campaign against Myanmar on May 30, then face host nation New Zealand (June 2) and Ukraine (June 5) in their other Group A games.
The entire U.S. U-20 World Cup roster is as follows:
Goalkeepers (3): Jeff Caldwell (University of Virginia; Todd, N.C.), Thomas Olsen (University of San Diego; Las Vegas, Nev.), Zack Steffen (Freiburg; Downingtown, Pa.)
Defenders (6): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur; Westcliff on Sea, England), Matthew Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Shaquell Moore (Valencia Huracan; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Desevio Payne (FC Groningen; Greenwood, S.C.), John Requejo (Club Tijuana; Carpinteria, Calif.)
Midfielders (7): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Russell Canouse (Hoffenheim; Lancaster, Pa.), Marco Delgado (Toronto FC; Glendora, Calif.), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham; Dallas, Texas), Joel Soñora (Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina), Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal; Montgomery County, Md.)
Forwards (5): Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake; Rochester, N.Y.), Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht; Beaverton, Ore.), Maki Tall (Red Star; Washington, D.C.), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes; Loomis, Calif.)