With the US national team having already pulled off one of their biggest recruitment coups in some time with Bayern Munich youngster Julian Green's recent commitment to the Yanks, Jurgen Klinsmann’s staff isn’t resting on their laurels.
The USMNT is targeting yet another big-time European prospect: Arsenal product Gedion Zelalem.
In an ESPNFC.com article by Kristan Heneage detailing the role USMNT assistant coach Andreas Herzog plays in identifying and recruiting dual-citizenship players plying their trade overseas, Zelalem is acknowledge to be on the radar of the former Austrian national team interim head coach despite the fact that he is not a US citizen.
Zelalem, whose family is of Ethiopian heritage, was born in Germany but spent his formative years living outside Washington, D.C., where he attended Walter Johnson High School. It was there he was noticed by Arsenal.
He has trained with the US U-15s, but was recently called up to Germany’s U-17 team for UEFA Euro qualifying. Were he to appear for Germany, he wouldn’t be able to switch allegiances to the US, as only dual citizens are allowed to make a one-time change before appearing at the senior level.
The article also details the role Herzog played in securing Green’s commitment. His relationship with Austrian international and Green’s Bayern teammate David Alaba helped Herzog develop a connection. When Green joined USMNT’s camp in January ahead of their Ukraine friendly, he was gifted a jersey by Seattle Sounders star Clint Dempsey.
“It’s already a better start if you have a better relationship to people around our player,” Herzog said in the article.