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Gedion Zelalem debuts for Arsenal
January 24th, 2014 5PM
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TAGS:  youth boys


[ENGLAND] Gedion Zelalem, a product of the Olney Boys & Girls Club program in Maryland, made his debut for Arsenal, two days before his 17th birthday, in the Gunners' 4-0 win over Coventry City in the English FA Cup match on Friday.

The Ethiopian-born Zelalem came on in the 70th minute.

"It was a good opportunity to give Gedion a chance to play," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. "He wants the ball, he is not fazed by the occasion"

Zelalem has been hailed as one of the best prospects to come through the Arsenal youth system in many years.

Zelalem, who played for Germany’s U-16 team, is of Ethiopian descent, but he also trained with the U.S. U-15 national team after in 2006 moving to Washington, D.C., where he played with the Olney Rangers. His coach, Matt Pilkington, brought Gedion to the attention of Arsenal’s North American scout, Danny Karbassiyoon, which is how he got to London.

Zelalem showed flashes of his great skill on Arsenal's summer tour of Asia, and he has played this fall for Arsenal's U-21 team.

  1. BJ Genovese
    commented on: January 25, 2014 at 10:22 a.m.
    I watched this game specifically to watch this player. Great great player... but it seems like only great players with dual citizenship can take this game to the top levels. Otherwise you have to be specially selected to the US national team by a select few people. This enables you to get a work visa in the EPL at least.
  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: January 25, 2014 at 3:05 p.m.
    Yes, one of the benefits of having a Euro spouse, if your progeny have the chops to take advantage of it. In all fairness to JK, he has given way more opportunities to a much larger pool of players than previous USMNT coaches. Not clear on the English FA requirement, but I believe you must be capped to be eligible for a transfer-- unless you're Juan Agudelo in which case, sorry No.

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