How do you discover a young prospect like US international attacker Gedion Zelalem and get him signed with a club like Arsenal? Goal USA spoke to the scout who did exactly that and helped Zelalam land in the English Premier League.
In the interview, scout Danny Karbassiyoon explains that Zelalem just 13 years old when he received the tip about a promising prospect, but he ignored it for months until a friend recommended he look into Zelalem, too.
"I do get a lot of emails about players and messages saying, 'Come and watch this kid, he’s the next Ronaldo, the next Neymar, he’s 9, he’s left-footed, he’s just amazing.'" Karbassiyoon said, adding that he "let it sit for a while" because he didn't know who sent him the tip.
Eventually, Karbassiyoon watched Zelalem wallop opposing teams and knew there was the possibility of something special happening.
"I was very excited because I found a kid that I thought had a really good chance," he said. "He had a German passport, which was ideal — nationality can be a very big deterrent for clubs signing players from the United States. There are a lot of good kids but whether or not you can get a passport and get them over to England is another story."
As luck would have it, Zelalem's club was competing in the Dallas Cup later that year and so was Arsenal -- and that's how Karbassiyoon found his opening to get the budding star signed. These days, Zelalem is on loan with Scottish Championship side Rangers from Arsenal, but he remains one of the US pool's most promising young prospects.
See the full interview over at Goal USA.