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Report: Gedion Zelalem set for U.S. U-23 call-up to face Colombia

Gedion Zelalem Rangers 21

It may not come as a surprise, but Gedion Zelalem will likely be named to the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team roster that takes on Colombia at the end of March.

According to Scottish national newspaper The Scotsman, the 19-year-old midfielder is set to be called up by the U.S. for their Olympic qualifying playoff series vs. Colombia.

The Americans will head to Barranquilla, Colombia, for the first leg of the series on March 25 before playing the second leg at Toyota Stadium four days later.

Zelalem appeared in two games for the U.S. U-23s during the 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, where the Americans finished in third place. Currently on loan with Rangers FC, Zelalem has played in 16 games for the club during the 2015-16 season, starting in 12 of those league fixtures.

What do you think of Zelalem’s reported call-up? Think he should start vs. Colombia?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Rubio Rubin just scored and had an assist in his first game. ACK from injury yesterday with the reserves. Went 60 mins

    • I’m still extremely excited by Rubin. As equally excited by his potential as I am with Pulisic. He plays and carries himself with such swagger.

      I also don’t think he’ll stay as a striker. Something that I think too many people passed over during his play at the U-20 WC was his instinct to look for a better option before shooting himself. I think the announcers said he needed to develop his killer instincts/selfishness more to be an effective striker, but I thought the opposite.

      He reminded me of Ozil, willing to explore all options and not just the most obvious. Now if he can just develop the ability to pull off the play…

      2022 is gonna be interesting trying to fit into the attack Rubin, Pulisic, Akale, Perez, Lennon, and anyone else not discovered/hyped up, let alone some of the more currently established pros of Morris, Gil, Green, Keisewetter, Mario Rodriguez (previously a regular for the olympic squad, and tearing up Monchengladbach II’s) etc. For once the numbers are in our favor for some of these prospects/youngsters to make it.

  2. if he has a association with Rangers then a would drop him from the team rangers play in the lower leagues of Scotland after being liquidated via financial match fixing and non payment of bills even if he was playing it would be against part timers opting to play him nationally seems odd as Scottish lower leagues are pub teams surely the size of american soccer there is other alternatives and player with more game time and in a higher league good luck to the young man either way the quicker he gets out of rangers the better rangers died via liquidation what we have now if a fake tribute !

    • You’re a little late to the game… Zelalem is on loan to Rangers from Arsenal. He’s on loan to start getting game time against full-grown men. He has some of the most potential in our entire pool, if he can just increase his speed of thought/take more risks. The whole point of youth national squads is to expose them to a national team set up, and provide an environment that allows him to take those risks, as opposed to his club, where he may play with more caution and hesitation.

      • yes a know hes on loan but hes not getting game time rangers cant afford players and have loaned players but this young man is left in the lurch Scottish football lower leagues are slow he wont get fast in the second tier its pub team standard its a bad move for a player to go to a club in lower leagues its un heard of in scotland he should not have agreed to it rangers are a slow team in Scotland second tier he doesn’t deserve in the us side for being stupid enough to play for a lower side he lacks ambition and would have been better staying in london a know all about thew play am London based and was shocked when a heard him leave for a lower league club

      • I don’t really wanna get in an argument, but I don’t think you know much about this situation. He’s not the first Arsenal player to be loaned to Rangers, nor is he the only London-based youngster to be loaned there this season. He’s there with at least 2 Tottenham players as well. Are you saying Pochettino and Wenger, arguably the 2 best managers in the UK at youth player identification and development, don’t know what they’re doing? That you know more than them?

        Loans are not all about playing at the highest level possible, tactics be damned; thats how you end up with a loan situation like Julian Greens time at Hamburg. A good manager/club will ideally send their prospects to clubs who have a similar philosophy and playing style, which the current Rangers under Mark Warburton have, even if at the lower level of Scottish Championship. Its important that they gain experience in the STYLE they will have to play when they return to their parent club. Whats the point of playing in the SPL, when most clubs there still play hoof-ball soccer, the exact opposite of the possession-based style Arsenal play? How will he learn quick, 1-touch passing, when defenders don’t even play out the back? At least Rangers, despite all their faults, don’t play this way. Its also much easier for Arsenal to keep track of him in Scotland, where they regularly visit him.

        He’s a young player, with a whole 60-80 minutes of first-team football. Staying at Arsenal would be better? He was tearing up the U-21 league at will, assisting almost every game. Lacking ambition? Staying would have been the definition of lacking ambition, not testing yourself in a foreign environment, against grown men not boys.

        Maybe moving to another EPL team would’ve been better, like Bournemouth or Swansea who play possession soccer, or even Championship; but then the offers needed to be made. You can’t go on loan where clubs don’t offer, and he needed a loan.

        And he was playing prior to the winter break. 20 caps at Rangers, prior to his injury and losing playing time. Not bad for his first season in a professional league (Scottish Championship players ARE professionals, despite how bad they may be.),. Also a valuable lesson for him that playing and performing at a high level is IMPORTANT, or else someone will take your spot. Its a lesson he certainly wouldn’t have learned staying put this year.


        You have ABSOLUTELY no idea what you are talking about. Not to mention, you’re initial response was unintelligible.

    • Hmm, which do we play–a player not playing in the Scottish second division (Zelalem) or a player not playing in the English second division (Hyndman).

      • the English second division is fast more skillful and has a higher standard than Scotland am UK based and its a well known fact that the English second is of very high standard and game time at fulham compared to rangers is of a higher quality the last Fulham player to move to Scotland is Patrick Roberts how went to Celtic from man city but was Fulham before city Fulham have great reputation and so does the young man Hyndman ,Zelalem has shot himself in the foot going to rangers its plumbers and painters they play and fitness at rangers compared to Fulham or arsenal is different Zelalem should be dropped for lack of ambition and not evening featuring in the first team of one of the worst leagues in Europe


        You really need to learn to use punctuation and sentence construction. I had to read this paragraph 3 times to even understand what you posted. First, I am pretty sure Gideon is recovering from an injury which is why he isn’t playing much now. Second, while I agree the Championship is a higher level, you do not know the specifics of the loan situation. Frankly, I trust Arsene Wenger, who approved the move, then your flawed judgment.

      • Bampots- Wenger turned down a loan offer from Fulham for Zelalem…. hmmmmm I wonder why? Make room room on the wage bill? Doubt it.

        Or maybe because Fulham is a shell of its former self, with managerial turnover and bottom of the table dwelling. Great environment for a young player, so great Hyndman signed a new contract. Oh wait…

    • what a surprise, a celtic fan doesn’t rate a (temporary) rangers player.

      i do have to admit, i admire celtic/rangers fans for scouring the internet for any tangentially-related articles to comment on. although you probably lose any internet points for “liking” your own comment.

  3. F: Morris, Kiessewetter, Shelton, Green, Arriola
    M: Hyndman, Zelahem, Trapp, Pulisic, Gil, Guido, Polster, SoƱora
    D: CCV, Miagza, Payne, Miller, Parker, Acosta, Vincent
    G: Horvath, Cropper, Steffan

    This team needs John Brooks. Yedlin would be a plus too. Both should be expendable for the games vs Guatemala..i get that call ups for the Olympics are not required like WC games but i dont see why a club would object to releasing them for one and not the other.

    • Most clubs would object to ALL callups, especially like Hertha with Brooks, but are forced to by FIFA. So its not that they have a problem with Olympics and not WC, but rather their hands are tied for one and not the other.

      • Yes but Klinsmann can be like, “look if you don’t release the player for the u-23 game then I’m going to call him in for the world cup qualifier, so either way you are going to have to release him so just release him for this u-23 game”.

      • @UCLABRUIN yes but then the club could equally say “We won’t release him unless we have to regardless” and Klinsman’s hands are tied. In my opinion they wont unless they absolutely have to because it seems to me like many clubs are against releasing players at all mid season.

      • This time around it is a little different because it is over an international window, unlike the fall tournament which the first half was not. I don’t see too many clubs not letting guys go, unless a lingering injury is involved.

      • Correct, clubs usually only release a player when they have to. Clubs have a large investment in players; both financially (salary) as well as the additional money gained by making it to the UEFA & Europa competitions. An injury while away with a national team can be a significant loss to a club since the insurance rarely covers the full value of the players salary let alone the potential value of resale down the line.

    • Beto,

      I like your team. Let’s wildly assume that JAB and Yedlin are part of the team. Who would you drop. Also, when is the official roster expected to be released?

      • Vincent and Sonora are probably the most likely to be dropped in the crazy event that those two get to go to the U23 team. Arriola has not been in Hertzog’s plans much either..wouldn’t be surprised to see a more CF type like Maki Tall or if available Rubio Rubin get picked over him.

        two weeks away from the international break.. I would imagine that the rosters are out by this weekend or early next week.

    • That’ll come with time and slow, steady strength training. He’s already put on like 10 lbs since I saw him play in the Arsenal/Red Bulls friendly.

  4. He shouldn’t start, but should be an option off the bench, assuming we aren’t losing. He can maintain possession well, and will have more time on the ball to dictate the tempo and make a play once mental and physical fatigue sets into our opponents.

  5. Good that he is fit and ready to play for the stars and stripes, bad in that he appears fit and isn’t dressing for Rangers.

    • I don’t think he’s fully recovered from the recent knock, but he will be by the time the Playoff comes around. He’s been out for a few weeks, so he needs time to regain fitness. THAT’S why he hasn’t been dressing the last few weeks.

  6. Random question: have cases of the Zica virus been reported in Columbia? If I were s player and wanted to have a kids at some point in the future, I would be very hesitant to travel to South America right now.

    • Well, the players going to Colombia will probably not have to worry much given that they are unlikely to be pregnant at the time.

      • It can be sexually transmitted from men to women so it is something for men to worry about, but that was a nice attempt at unnecessarily being a jerk.

      • Despite the all hype, there is no definitive link between the Zika virus and the supposed spike in babies with Microphelay that happened in a particular region of Brazil

    • Zika virus does not remain in your bloodstream forever. Once you recover from the virus, you are immune forever. I know you’re not a public health professional (just a hunch), but I would still start Zalaem.

    • BSU SC,

      Normally, I would just answer it without judgment, but you were kinda snide in your responses to people in your thread. Frankly, You should read a little bit about an issue before just posting it on a site. Relying on feedback from a soccer site on a health issue is, frankly, foolish.

      However, here is my response. First, it’s Zika not Zica. Second, it’s Colombia, not Columbia. Third, you might consider looking at the CDC website and get informed. According to CDC, ” Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week but it can be found longer in some people. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.” “To help prevent spreading Zika from sex, you can use condoms the right way every time you have sex”. That took me 5/10 mins. Meaning if somebody wants to have a kid in the next few years, this is not an issue.

      A little effort or knowledge is a dangerous thing.

      • Thanks for that delightful input, now allow me to respond to your response.

        First, I originally typed in “Zika” but my phone autocorrected to “Zica”, probably because it assumed I was referring to the Zica car.

        Second, I’m well aware that Colombia and Columbia are different, but I’m human and made a mistake. I think people who are tools and point out things like that are jerks and are attempting nothing more than to make other people feel bad. I wasn’t going to put up with it.

        Third, I was simply trying to start a conversation because that is the main purpose of a blog. I wasn’t seeking any type of medical research on a soccer blog. There was never a need for you or the others to get snippy but you seem to get some type of enjoyment from putting other people down. I don’t care much for bullies so I decided to post those responses. A little effort towards being nice to other people and not pointing out their imperfections is not a dangerous thing.

      • Listen, there is nothing wrong with starting a conversation. I take the reasoning behind Zica (my phone auto-corrects me often). However, you have to admit your responses to Larry and Rob were snide if not overly sensitive at the very least. My issue is why you did try to start a conversation, you did it from a very ignorant standpoint which, honestly, 5 mins of research would have addressed. Sorry, that is the truth. It isn’t even a gray area. Then you got sensitive when one guy playfully teased you on it. That is overly sensitive. Like I said, I would have been a lot nicer in my response if you had not been snide. Sorry, if you don’t want snide responses, don’t snidely respond to others.

      • Why is it that you feel their responses “playful” but mine are “overly sensitive”?

        And I completely disagree with you that asking a simple question automatically makes me ignorant, especially since blogs set up as a forum to have a discussion, but there is no question that your post was nothing more than an effort to make yourself feel like a big shot by trying to make me feel like bad about myself over something so small as this. I really feel sorry for you if that’s how you live your life when you’re not in front of a computer screen, I would have trouble living with myself if I treated people like that. But I learned a long time ago that there are of jerks in the world, so no need to waste my time with you.

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