[MLS] Seattle Sounders star Steve Zakuani has opted to play the Democratic Republic of Congo, having been put off by the three-year wait to possibly represent the United States, where he has resided since moving from England and enrolling at the University of Akron in 2007.
Zakuani will join his brother Gabriel, a defender for Emglish third division club Peterborough United, for Congo's friendly against Mali on Wednesday night in France.
Zakuani, 22, scored 10 goals during the Sounders' 2010 MLS regular season and added one goal in the playoffs.
"Being selected to represent the DR Congo national team is the highest honor I've received in my young career," said Zakuani. "I am looking forward to testing myself at the international level and helping my national team qualify for the 2012 African Cup of Nations and the 2014 World Cup.
"It's true that I was eligible for three national teams: England, United States and, of course, Congo DR. I definitely considered playing for the U.S., but the three-year wait for citizenship, without any fast-tracking possibilities, made the decision to represent the nation of my birth a little bit easier. I'm excited about the challenge ahead."
Zakuani was born in Kinshasa and moved to London at the age of 4.
He was the No. 1 pick in the 2009 SuperDraft by the Sounders after starring at Akron for two seasons.