clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Tesho Akindele Not Eligible For USMNT (Yet)

New, 12 comments

It turns out Gedion Zelalem isn't the only young player coveted by the US Men's National Team (USMNT) currently prohibited from suiting up for the Stars and Stripes.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

For context as to how much schadenfreude I'm currently wrapping myself in at this exact moment, I'd like to remind you of this tweet from the official FC Dallas Twitter account:

Bitter? Angry? Me? Surely you jest. I'm super bitter and angry. Geeze.

The reason I bring this all up is the latest twist in the ongoing saga of the USMNT trying to cap-tie Hertha BSC academy product and current Arsenal starlet Gedion Zelalem. Zelalem recently received American citizenship, which many observers assumed would pave the way for a one-time switch from Germany (Zelalem played with their U15, U16 and U17 squads) to the United States. As Doug McIntyte reports for ESPNFC.com, that's not entirely true:

Zelalem is a naturalized American citizen, as opposed to becoming one through lineage or birthright. His parents and his grandparents were also born overseas, meaning he's subject to a little-known stipulation in FIFA's statutes that would require him to live in the U.S. for five years from Jan. 26, his 18th birthday, before suiting up for the Yanks in official matches.

And since the playmaking midfielder -- who lived in Maryland between 2006 and 2013, when he moved to London to join the Gunners -- isn't about to leave Europe any time soon, meeting that requirement as it's written would appear to be non-starter.

How sad; a soccer country rich with talent can't get richer. Pardon me if I don't cry a river. Where this becomes relevant for Canadian Men's National Team followers is how this same rule also applies to the afore-mentioned Tesho Akindele:

Zelalem isn't the only American player the rule is currently affecting. Canadian-born FC Dallas forward Tesho Akindele, who grew up in Colorado and became a U.S. citizen last year, can't play for the Americans in this week's friendly against Chile for the same reason.

All right, then! Time for Benito Floro to pick up the phone and start the hard sales pitch to get Tesho back into the fold. I mean, it's not like Floro hasn't tried to call the kid up before; without the Major League Soccer playoffs as an excuse, though, this should make everyth-

Akindele will automatically become eligible for the U.S. when he turns 23 in March, when he will have fulfilled the five-year residency requirement.

-shoot. March?! Quick! Somebody drive a tanker truck full of maple syrup, BC smoked salmon, poutine and Tim Horton's gift cards to Akindele's apartment! Think of my beautiful, beautiful schadenfreude!

But seriously, I know it's a long shot to get Akindele in Canadian red now that he's had a taste of American training camp. My only hope is that the forced waiting period for residency means somebody from the Canadian side makes a phenomenal sales pitch that convinces Akindele of the merits of playing north of the 49th Parallel. Perhaps repeating the name "Teal Bunbury" over and over will do it.

<a href="https://twitter.com/86forever" class="twitter-follow-button" data-show-count="false" data-size="large">Follow @86forever</a>

<script>!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');</script>

<div class="fb-like-box" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/86forever" data-colorscheme="light" data-show-faces="true" data-header="true" data-stream="false" data-show-border="true"></div>