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Klinsmann looking forward to welcoming ‘special’ Zelalem to USMNT

GedionZelalemArsenal1-MonacoEmiratesCup (Getty)


The process of uniting Gedion Zelalem with the U.S. Men’s National Team continues to roll on, and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann couldn’t be more excited for that process to reach its conclusion.

The 18-year-old forward is currently pursuing a waiver that would allow him to play for the USMNT, and U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe says the transaction remains “ongoing”, according to Goal USA.

Zelalem, who is also eligible to represent Ethiopia and Germany, is the type of player that Klinsmann believes can step right in and contribute on the senior level.

“(Zelalem) is a special case. He’s a special player,” Klinsmann said according to Goal USA. “I think he’s already at a level that he can definitely play on the senior team.”

While he has to wait to formally introduce Zelalem as an eligible player, Klinsmann is looking forward to the prospect of welcoming Zelalem to the senior team once he is available for selection. The Arsenal product would be eligible to represent the U.S. on the youth level, but Klinsmann is hoping to call in Zelalem to the country’s top unit in order to get a closer look at his ability and composure within the group.

“Definitely I would like to see him with me first,” Klinsmann said. “I want to kind of see how he interacts with the whole group and what level he’s in, and then for the next dates then (I am) totally open then to have him play with the U-23s or with (U.S. Under-20 coach Tab Ramos).”

What do you think of Klinsmann’s comments? How would Zelalem fit in with the senior team?

Share your thought below.


  1. I just got done posting that JK sounds like many posters on soccer blogs on the previous story. And what does be add to his list. The hype of a player who is barely playing yet.

    Well done. Dont forget to mention Pro/Reg and the Don stinks on the way to bed tonight !

  2. Yea GZ! Go, go, go! I’m obviously as cautious as other posters about offering the kid up as the saviour to usmnt, but I think he’s more than hype. I have not seen him nearly enough, but Wenger compared him to a young cesc, and I will certainly roll the dice on that.

    And I certainly give so many ukcs about the heritage of his family! If the kid grew up speaking ukcs with his family, or lived in another country, I wouldn’t want him on team ‘merica! Guess how many ucks I give!?

    I hate klinsi because of how he did LD and I will NEVER get past it, but I don’t see anything wrong with him talking up GZ. Kid appears to have enormous potential and I hope to see him in red white and blue soon!

    • I criticized the Donovan decision as much as anyone, but it’s long past. The US did as well as could be expected in the last WC, you need to move on and judge JK by results, not one bad decision.

      • Gary Page, stop telling us how we should judge something. and frankly, if you believe the US did as well as could be expected, you should be listening to others telling you what and how to judge. The LD decision set off a domino effect of decisions, and the team was weakened by them. Worse still was the BS reasons given that too many from our naïve soccer society accepted…and then told us all to buy because Klinnsman knows, he’s been there, yada yada yada

        you stop telling people how to judge that pathetic decision, and I’ll stop explaining over and over what a pathetic decision it was

      • It was a good decision to leave off a LD that barely had enough motivation left to stretch his club career to 2014 let alone his international career. No one should get a free pass on the WC squad for sentimental reasons.

      • agreed…no free pass. shoudl be earned.

        did you know that he scored 8 goals and had 8 assists for Klinsmann’s USMNT team in 2013 AFTER Klinsmann invited him back…repeat, AFTER Klinsmann had invited him back. LD also scored a goal and assisted on another vs. Mexico in a WC quali AFTER Klinsmann had invited him back

        explain to us all how Green earned it…no free pass? I await your insights

      • Yeah, this is what I don’t get from the JK apologists. They bring up Landon’s sabbatical but if that so offended JK, then why did he select him again after Landon came back? He was the best player at the 2013 Gold Cup, scored against Mexico in the Hex and was part of the 30 man squad before the tournament. What does the sabbatical have to do with anything? That was 18 months before the decision we’re discussing.

        JK’s son’s tweet is obviously confirmation, in case it was needed, that the decision not to bring LD was personal and not based on soccer. He chose to bring a fourth division player and a decent MLS striker in Wondo over the greatest player in US history because he didn’t like the guy.

      • Wondo scored 5 goals in the 2013 Gold Cup
        LD scored 5 goals in the 2013 Gold Cup.

        If anyone pointed to Wondo’s accomplishments in that tournament SBI posters would say
        ”Watered down JV tournament”, “ Means nothing, can’t score against the big boys”

        LD scores 5 goals and SBI posters say:

        “ He’s back!”, “Dominant performance”. “Look at how he gives his best for the USMNT”

        In the Gold Cup was LD was anonymous starting out on the wing. It was only when he moved centrally that he started playing better. The 2013 Gold Cup represented a missed opportunity for LD . It wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t great either.

        It certainly wasn’t impressive, not by LD’s standards.

      • GW, this is about as off target a post as you’ve made…a Sunderland midfileder’s blast into the 20th row

    • What’s your point!

      That people shouldn’t speak in ways they are most comfortable? You do know aged ion lived here…developed here…was scouted here…speaks not just English, but American (there’s a difference)…or was this another poorly veiled attempt at some nationalistic NIN-sense?

  3. “(Zelalem) is a special case. He’s a special player,” Klinsmann said according to Goal USA. “I think he’s already at a level that he can definitely play on the senior team.”

    So the guy that hasn’t even consistently broken into Arsenal’s senior team is good enough for the senior USMNT right now? I like Klinsmann’s optimism, but a lot of the things he says can come off as a tad pollyannaish.

    • So you expect him to beat out Santi Casorla and Mesut Ozil? Or maybe Wilshere and OX C?

      Tell me who in the USMNT senior team beats out any of those guys.

      • It’s not like Zelalem is an unused sub behind those guys. If he’s that close to first team action loan him to another club and see what he’s got before anointing him a senior team player.

      • There are what, 10 games, left in the EPL season?

        If they are going to loan out GZ this isn’t the time to do it.

        Besides, GZ isn’t exactly locked up for the USMNT yet why would JK say anything remotely negative about him?

      • Um, obviously. I don’t mean literally loan him out today. If he’s that close to first team football he should look to find playing time in the fall wherever Arsenal thinks is best. Maybe he gets some run in preseason and other teams can look into a loan. Also, I wasn’t talking about Jürgen so not sure where that came from. Strictly speaking about Arsenal and Zelalem.

      • Troll,

        Obvious or not this is what you wrote:

        “ If he’s that close to first team action loan him to another club and see what he’s got before anointing him a senior team player.”

        JK was the “anointer” and he has no control over a loan for GZ.

        JK said GZ was special enough to play for the USMNT senior team, not Arsenal’s, which in my view, is superior to the USMNT. Now maybe you don’t agree but can you name me any midfielders, not named Dempsey or Jones in the USMNT player pool who make Arsenal’s senior team 18 at this point?

        Bear in mind that BB said Arsenal passed on Mikey when he was leaving Roma.

        As for your suggestion to loan out GZ,Wenger apparently thought enough of GZ to keep him around and not loan him out.

        I know this because, well, Wenger kept him around. And it does not seem likely he will loan him out before next season which starts I believe, in late August.

        Such a loan would be after the Gold Cup which is the main thing for the senior 2015.

        So IF GZ’s eligibility appeal goes through and IF JK throws him right into the fire of the Gold Cup, it will be w/o the benefit of a loan.

      • Wenger did loan out Joel; Campbell and then brought him back. From what you read, y9ou might infer that Wenger holds Zelalem in higher regard than
        Campbell. In regard to the other point, the US has never had a player good enough to start on a Champions League team. Arsenal has made the CL for many years in a row (I think something like 14). If coaches like Wenger and Guardiola like youth players like Zelalem and Green, well, that’s about as good a recommendation that they can get. People complaining about JK talking up these players must not think much of Guardiola or Wenger either.

      • Oops, I messed up in saying the US hasn’t had players good enough for CL. Jermaine Jones, Beasley, Edu,and numerous others playing in the lesser leagues fill that bill. I meant to say a team as good as Arsenal. Don’t think Schalke has been as good as Arsenal.

      • “So you expect him to beat out Santi Casorla and Mesut Ozil? Or maybe Wilshere and OX C?

        Tell me who in the USMNT senior team beats out any of those guys”

        Well if that’s your argument then he really isn’t that special is he?

      • Okay but that doesn’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things then. If he can’t beat out or at least be competitive with the players you mentioned, how much better is he going to make the national team? The USMNT is already stacked with players that can’t break into the first team of big clubs. So I see no change here.

      • Well, GZ is what 18-19? And Wenger has kept him around all season, not loaning him out.

        If he is what Wenger thinks he is he will break into the Arsenal senior team in the next year or two, which would be perfect timing for 2018.

        So you’ll have to wait and see..

  4. How about we let the kid develop. Let him become a regular with his club before asking him to save our program. The risk/reward its just not worth it.
    Next thing we know he’ll think himself too good for the reserve team.

  5. Zelalem & Green should both be with the U-23 team.
    Neither is playing for their clubs first teams at the moment, and neither is such a substancial improvement over other options in the USMNT Player Pool.
    I’d rather both get minutes on the field in competitions with the U-23s rather than ride the bench with the Sr. National Team.

    • My understanding is Green isn’t eligible for US age group teams because he already played for Germany u-17. Zelalem should play with the U-20s.

      • Green just can’t play in the U-20 World Cup because the U19 Euros act as a qualifier for that tournament. However he can play for the U23 Olympic team.

      • Green cannot play for the U-20’s due to his participation with the German U-17’s (German U-17 appearance was the same age bracket/cycle as the U-20 WC this year) but he can play for the U-23s.

    • He’s actually a big guy (~6’1″). He’s slight, but he’s got a big frame. At some point in the future, he’s going to be bossing guys around physically. Now, he can still hold his own.

  6. To early to tell but how about this lineup for 2018 in a 4-2-3-1






    • If we are projecting out then I don’t know how Brooks isn’t in that line up. Already far more proven then Green, Gyau or Zelalem.

    • How about guys like Green and Zelalem actually do something before we pencil them in as USMNT starters at the world cup?

      • Well, Green did score with his first touch at the World Cup, so I’d say Klinsmann already won that particular argument.

        How soon we forget…

      • So he mis-hit a shot that went in against Belgium and other than those 15 minutes he’s looked like a deer in the headlights every time he’s stepped on the field for the USMNT. But JK “won” the argument?

      • JK got so lucky with that goal,. He just threw him out there thinking the match was over. There would be so much more heat over that pick right now, without that goal.

      • If “if” was a fifth, we’d all be drink.

        REALITY IS …

        He was chosen. He scored. Jürgen had balls. Jürgen gets the credit.

        Based on reality, This Argument is closed!

      • If Klinsmann really had so much faith in him, he should have put him in before we were down 2 goals. Then maybe that goal would have actually meant something.

      • Jack,

        Bad argument.

        Wondo subbed in at 72 minutes or so. He should have scored and put Belgium to death. That’s on Wondo.

        Green was put up just after it went to 1-0 and was waiting to get in when Lukaku ran over Besler.

        That goal sparked the US and Clint probably should have equalized but he did not.

      • it’s not a bad argument at all. only the biggest apologists still defend Greens’ inclusion. If JK had the faith he would have played him earlier instead of getting him in at the end like he did

      • beachbum,

        JK had to be conservative since Fabian got hurt early and he had to consider that they might go 120.

        Green scored and brought the US back into the game Wondo, who should have put Belgium to bed, did not, which makes Green’s inclusion more successful than Wondo’s.

        That’s just obvious.

      • Yeah guys, having Green for garbage time was WAY smarter than having backup coverage for Jozy since our entire system was designed around Jozy up top.

  7. I believe he’s the 10 shirt the US has been waiting for. Skill on the ball, distribution, creativity. That’s what we’ve seen glimpses of this far. And I hope we get a full preview of how he fits in for the US at this Summer’s Gold Cup.

    I think he’s in the squad for World Cup 2018, but World Cup 2022 should be Gedion leading the US, at the peak of his career.

      • If only we had number 10 who could score multiple world cup goals, break the all the records, score goals, set up goals, win games with clutch goals, earn accolades domestically and abroad, professionally and internationally. A player that would transform the sport. Whose playing time would see the following of the sport grow exponentially. That at the end of his playing days we would see tens of thousands filling up bars and parks and city blocks!

        Ah, if only.

      • Yeah but guys… Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey might have done a lot for the team but they just never had the experience of sitting the bench at Arsenal. Plus those 7 minutes of champions league football instantly make this Eth-Germerican the best US eligible player in the world.

    • I’m all for Zelalem playing for the US, but come on. He’s never played a single minute as a professional and he’s already leading the national team at the world cup. Hype machine is in overdrive!

      • I agree completely with your sentiment; however, to be exact, he has appeared for Arsenal’s senior team in both the FA Cup and the Champions League. That said, expecting him to be a difference maker for the USMNT at this point in his career is ridiculous.

      • But those U21? and asian tour youtube clips tho…

        Yea, for sure you’re right. Cautious optimistic .. but the truth is that we have so few true prospects, what do you expect?

      • your ignorance emits…..

        Pulisic was born in Hershey, PA

        he has a GRANDparent from Croatia, thus going them hope he will switch NTs

        so he is “american born” and technically american raised as well. just because someone has an international sounding last name doesn’t mean they aren’t american, genius…

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