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U.S. Men's National Team

FIFA approves Saeif's change to USMNT

The U.S. Men’s National Team has officially gained the services of another talented dual-national midfielder.

KAA Gent midfielder Kenny Saief has officially changed his association to the U.S. after representing Israel at the youth levels, U.S. Soccer announced. The 23-year-old attacking mid made appearances for Israel up to the senior level in a pair of friendlies, but his one-time switch means that he will only be allowed to represent the U.S. Men’s National Team moving forward.

Though Saief was born in the U.S., his family moved to Israel at the age of four, where he played his youth career and the bulk of his senior career to date. After several seasons with Israeli clubs Bnei Sakhnin, Hapoel Haifa, Ironi Kiryat Shmona, and Ironi Nir Ramat HaSharon, Saief made a move to Belgium and joined Gent in 2014. In his three seasons with Gent, Saief has made 76 appearances and has recorded 10 goals. He and Gent won the league title in 2014-15, and he has some European experience as a result.

Saief was named as part of the provisional 40-man Gold Cup roster, and his inclusion on the final roster would not be surprising. Saief has regularly stated his intent to play for the USMNT, and he appears likely to get his wish, as he takes a place as one of the more promising young midfielders in the player pool.

37 comments
  • LouisZ

    This kid can play in a number of positions. He has played at both wings, some central CM and even as a LWB.

    Like

  • Rob

    You know you suck developing players when you have to poach them from freaking Israel.
    Thanks MLS!

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    • Joe

      Talented players come from countries that are not known as soccer powers all the time. If he’s an upgrade to the team and works hard for us, I don’t care where he was developed.

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      • don Lamb

        Gonzalez is a product of the US, but he has been representing Mexico at the youth levels. Acosta doesn’t fit into this conversation, but he is another that is going to make Rob cry over the next decade.

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    • Ronniet

      don’t think you can call it “poaching” when a player was born in the US and has stated numerous times he wanted to play for the USMNT. Nice try though haha

      Liked by 1 person

    • rbender17

      Rob, I’d like to have a word with you if you could please email me at bende005 @ me.com. I don’t care if you’re trying to make a senseless joke or get attention but if you’re going to post antisemitic things here then we’re going to have a problem, and I’d LOVE to meet you in person. Please email me.

      Like

      • Yevgeniy

        I hate every single comment from Rob, but I don’t see anti-semitism here (I am Jewish)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jamie

        While the Druze are in fact a Semitic people, just as the Jews and the Arabs, I think Rob’s post, while profoundly stupid and totally useless, was referring to the relative size and prominence of Israel as a footballing nation, not Saeif’s ethnicity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Johnnyrazor

        Although Arabs spoke Semitic languages and Islam and Christianity are also considered Semitic religions, Anti-Semitic according to Webster’s Dictionary refers only to hatred toward Jews. (Cue the NBC rainbow star and the “The more you know” slogan).

        Liked by 1 person

  • danny kissinger

    Israel is pretty much the 51st state, so very happy to see this transfer happen. This kid has got talent. More dynamic then MB90 and he should permanently relegate him to the holding DM position.

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    • wychijeff

      Not sure I’d consider a starting DM spot a relegation, just a permanent switch of positions (which I think has already happened).

      Like

    • johnnyrazor

      From what I understand more a winger or AM so doesn’t really factor in MB’s playing time at all. Perhaps if he’s able of doing a better job of showing for the ball when Bradley is doubled he could actually make MB look better and extend the captain’s time with the national team.

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    • M

      Israel definitely the 51st state but the rest of your comment is very strange. He has absolutely nothing to do with Michael Bradley and you’d be hard pressed to find two players on the same pitch who are so radically different.

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    • Gary Page

      Interesting how some folks arrange facts to fit their conclusions. I’ve never seen this guy play, know nothing about him, but how good can he be if he plays in Belgium? If he was such a game changer you would think he would have been picked up by a team in a bigger league. Bedoya was a regular starter in the French league, Morales a semi-regular in the Bundesliga at Ingolstadt. Yet they aren’t starters for the national team and Morales is rarely called in. Yet some are making this new guy into “the answer” when they don’t even know the question.

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      • danny kissinger

        The Belgium league is pretty decent and has a good skill level. Recall Gooch establishing himself and having his peak success in that league. Without watching tons of games, one way is to consider how the transfer market values these players Kenny Saief’s current estimated market value is 3M euro, which is actually the same as Bradley’s current value, although it’s not an apples to apples comparison because of age. and fact that Bradley is known, established quantity. Note, Nagbe’s value is estimated at 1.75M euro. Bedoya’s peak market value in 2014 was 2.5M

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      • Gary Page

        Yes, Gooch played there and so did Sacha K and now so does Horvath. Van Damme of the Galaxy came from there, too. Their teams rarely get far in European competitions, however.Also, estimated market value is pretty meaningless. Jozy once fetched $10 million in real, not estimated dollars. My original point still stands. If he was so good, he’d be playing in a better league since he would almost certainly make better money in France, Germany or probably even Holland. The other thing is that the US has plenty of good midfielders. I doubt he is going to shine above the rest. I’d put more hope in Lyndon Gooch than this guy. What we really need is a good LB playing in Europe.

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      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho

        wtf is estimated transfer value? Who is sitting around in their basement guessing how much a club will pay for every mid level professional player?
        The flat out truth of the matter is no one on here has seen this guy play more than 3 times if at all. None of us know how good he is, his true style of play, what his attitude is like or how he will fit into the squad. There are some pretty decent players who do not even get called in to the US team, so to suddenly start throwing this guy in the depth chart of our attacking players is a useless exercise.
        I really hope he comes in and uses the Gold Cup to show he has a place in this team. The more depth we have the better. To make any predictions beyond that is a complete waste.

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  • Joe A

    This guys got some serious poteintal hopefully he doesn’t turn out to be like a Timmy Chandler.

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    • Ronniet

      explain how it’s “recruiting” when Kenny was born in the US and additionally the article clearly says, “Saief has regularly stated his intent to play for the USMNT”?!?! If anything Saif recruited the USMNT. Don’t be a troll just for the sake of it!!!

      Like

      • I scored three goals in one game

        Dude calm down it was a joke, wow. People on here jump so quick to hate. Julian Green born in Tampa but people complain and another example John Brooks born in Germany but ever since he was a kid wanted to play for US and people complain. What I think is funny is how people pick and choose who to except and who not too.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ronniet

        Oh i’m good, don’t take my comment as me being angry, but just as it was hard for me to tell if you were joking the same applies to me apparently! “Hate” is a strong word, although some people say some crazy things on these threads to get under peoples skin. America is a full of diversity, and I wil never understand why some folks get up in arms when dual nationals are brought into the program, to each his own i guess!

        Like

  • Lost in Space

    Saeif has stated multiple times that he wanted to represent the US. If he can improve the team than I have absolutely no issue with his inclusion. I’ve only ever seen highlights of his actual play so hoping to get a good long look at how he matches up to the rest of the player pool.

    If he does well during the GC we could have some real options & speed in the midfield:
    Wide Left: Nagbe, Fabian, Pulisic, Saeif, Green
    Wide Right: Fabian, Pulisic, Gooch, Arriola, Zardes
    CAM: Pulisic, Dempsey, Nagbe, Hyndman, Saeif
    CM (#8): Acosta, Bradley, Williams, Gooch
    CDM (#6): Cameron, Bradley, Williams, Jones

    Just need a couple more things to come together:
    1) Solidify Keeper
    2) RCB to step up to enable Cameron to move to CDM
    3) 2 strikers to step it up and push Jozy & Wood.

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    • footydoc

      “1) Solidify Keeper”
      Totally true and something that most of us have never had to type in our whole lives when speaking of the USMNT.

      Like

      • Chase

        We have an incredible keeper in Howard who should be able to make it through the next WC. We have plenty of time for another one to step up after that.

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      • Lost in Space

        Chase – Howard has been a great keeper, but father time catches up to everyone eventually. His injury last November was the first time he’s ever had a significant injury….but once you have 1 it is easier to have another…especially at his age.
        Not sold on Guzan, Rimando, Hamid or any of the others who have been thought to be Howard’s backups/replacements over the last cycle or 2. That leaves the generation of Horvath, Steffen, & Gonzalez….and none of them are ready at the moment to be “The Guy”. That’s what I mean by solidifying the keeper position.

        Like

  • Ronniet

    Now is the time for Hamid to show he a) can stay healthy, and b) be the shot stopper and organizer that some of us know him to be. I think BH could take over the position for the next several years if given the opportunity

    Like

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