Past and future soccer stars coming to United States

By Alex Butler

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- The infection of international soccer is spreading into the United States once again with recent announcements including the arrival of Arsenal prized prospect Gedion Zelalem and sources reporting Liverpool's Steven Gerrard joining the Los Angeles Galaxy.

On Monday, Steven Goff of the Washington Post, reported that Zelalem finalized his naturalization process in Washington. The 17-year-old German born midfielder has said he plans to commit to the U.S. soccer program.


Zelalem could join a class including Julian Green, Aron Johannsson, and John Brooks under Jurgen Klinsmann. Green was raised in Germany, Brooks was born in Germany, and Johannsson is an Icelandic American.

Zelalem moved to the United States when he was nine years old. His father became a citizen this year. Under the Child Citizenship Act, Zelalem is eligible for a U.S. passport.


According to ESPNFC's Jeff Carlisle, Klinsmann's first chance to call up Zelalem to the senior team would be late March for friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland.

At 34, Gerrard is past his prime but could serve as a good fill in for the retired Landon Donovan. Gerrard had 180 goals in 695 games for Liverpool, where he debuted in 1998. Gerrard leaves Anfield after this season and is being told he will start few games, according to the team's official website.

Gerrard joins David Beckham, Robbie Keane, Carlo Cudicini, Alessandro Nesta and Thierry Henry as a former European soccer stars to transition to the U.S. pitch. New York City FC's Frank Lampard will stay on loan at Manchester City until the end of the Premier league season.

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