On Friday, Seattle Sounders winger Steve Zakuani announced his decision to represent the national team of the Democratic Republic of Congo after accepting a call-up for a friendly against Mali in France next week.
Although he has committed to Congo, the 22-year-old Zakuani admitted that he would have opted to represent the United States if his US citizenship could have been fast tracked.
“Tough decision, but long wait for US citizenship nailed it!” Zakuani said via his Twitter account. “If citizenship could have been fast-tracked, probably would have gone with US.”
The left winger departs for Paris on Sunday and will join his older brother, Gabriel, who plays for Peterborough United in England’s League One.
"I definitely considered playing for the US,” Zakuani said in the official Sounders club statement. “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, a former resident of London, also had the opportunity to wear the colors of England but admitted to MLSsoccer.com’s ExtraTime Radio several weeks ago that he felt his chances were slim, despite newspaper reports in England urging manager Fabio Capello to give him a look.