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U.S.-eligible Kenny Saief accepts Israel call-up


Months after expressing his interest in being called into the U.S. Men’s National Team, Kenny Saief is keeping his options open.

Interim head coach Alon Hazan named his roster for Israel’s upcoming friendly against Croatia on March 23, and American-born Saief was among those called in. The KAA Gent midfielder accepted the call-up after previously venting his frustration with not being included to Israel’s past rosters.

“At least the United States appreciates me,” Saief told Sport5 in December. “I have not decided if that’s what I want, I’m in a serious dilemma. I consulted with my mother. In two weeks, I will come to Israel for winter holidays. I’ll sit down with my family and I will see what happens. But as of now it looks like my best option, because the Israeli national team, no one talked to me at all.”

Participating in the match against Croatia would not cap-tie Saief, who was born in Panama City, Florida, but he still needs to file a one-time switch in order to play for the U.S. The 22-year-old has appeared in 18 games for Gent during the 2015-16 season, scoring two goals.

What do you think of Saief’s decision? Think he will ultimately play for Israel?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. In other news of similar importance (not worth writing about), I am USNT-eligible, and have been called up by my city league team.

  2. Good for him, he used JK’s fawning interest in every passport American on the planet to get what he really wanted – a call up from his actual national team.

      • Not to diminish your valid sarcasm, but I’m sure the exit polling today will reveal it’s not too far off.

      • When did I say that. However, when someone is born here but moves away as a baby never to return, I think the country he moved to can accurately be called his actual national team. Mr Saief apparently agrees since he’s only ever played for Israeli youth national teams and happily accepted the recent call up.

      • Reading those quotes it’s pretty clear he was just using the US to get a call from Israel. Happy for him it worked out.

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