Gedion Zelalem

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Gedion Zelalem
ZelalemLiverpool (cropped).jpg
Zelalem playing for Arsenal U21s in 2013
Personal information
Full name Gedion Zelalem
Date of birth (1997-01-26) 26 January 1997 (age 17)
Place of birth Berlin, Germany[1]
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Number 35
Youth career
2003–2006 Hertha BSC
2006–2008 MSC United
2009–2011 Bethesda Soccer Club
2011–2013 Olney Rangers
2013– Arsenal
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2014– Arsenal 0 (0)
National team
2012 Germany U15 2 (0)
2012–2013 Germany U16 8 (0)
2013– Germany U17 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22:42, 24 January 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22:42, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Gedion Zelalem (born 26 January 1997) is a German footballer who plays as a midfielder for English club Arsenal.

Internationally Zelalem has made appearances for Germany's under-15 team, under-16 team and under-17 team.

Club career[edit]

Youth career[edit]

Zelalem started playing football at the age of five and grew up in Germany playing for the club BFC Germania 1888. After this he changed to Bundesliga side Hertha BSC's academy. He moved to the United States in 2006. Zelalem continued his development playing for MSC United and Bethesda Soccer Club, before joining the club team Olney Rangers and the varsity team at Walter Johnson High School in Montgomery County, Maryland.[3] Arsenal scout Daniel Karbassiyoon discovered Zelalem playing for Olney Rangers during a Dallas Cup match. After contacting his coaches, Zelalem was flown to London for summer training with the Arsenal youth academy; following the end of this camp, he was offered a permanent place in the Academy.[3]


Zelalem started out playing in Arsenal's under-16s squad, before graduating into the under-21s in April 2013.[4] His debut for the under-21 side came against Liverpool U21 that month, but was unable to prevent Arsenal slipping to a 3–2 defeat at Anfield; however, he drew praise for his performance.[5] He made his second appearance for the side less than a week later in a 3–2 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers U21, once again drawing praise for his performance.[6]

In July 2013, Zelalem was included in Arsenal's 24-man squad for their Asian tour.[7] Although regarded as a surprise inclusion, strong performances against an Indonesia Dream Team, the Vietnam national team and Japanese side Nagoya Grampus led to him being touted as a future star, and being compared favourably to Cesc Fàbregas.[8][9][10]

Following these strong performances, Zelalem stated that he hoped to make a few appearances during the 2013–14 season.[11] He remained in the team for the Emirates Cup match against Galatasaray on 4 August, but was unable to keep Arsenal from sliding to a 2–1 defeat.[12] Zelalem was selected on the bench in Arsenal's second Premier League game of the season, a 3–1 victory over Fulham on 24 August, but did not make an appearance.[13] However, on 10 September, Zelalem announced on Twitter that he had sustained an injury that would keep him out of action for up to two months.[14] Although he announced his return to training in late October, Arsène Wenger confirmed that he would not be fit enough for the League Cup match against Chelsea on 29 October, contrary to rumour.[15] He returned to action for Arsenal's youth side a week later in a UEFA Youth League fixture against Borussia Dortmund on 6 November, playing the entire match in a 2–2 draw.[16]

On 24 January 2014, the German made his debut with Arsenal's senior squad, coming on as a substitute for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 71st minute of their 4–0 home FA Cup victory against Coventry City.[17]

On 18 March 2014, Zelalem signed a new contract extension with Arsenal.[18]

Career statistics[edit]

As of match played 24 January 2014.
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Arsenal 2013–14[19] Premier League 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Career total 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0

International career[edit]

Zelalem initially trained with the under-15 side of the United States, but was unable to play in matches due to only being classified as a permanent resident, and not a citizen.[20] Instead, he played for Germany's under-15 and under-16 sides, making two appearances for the under-15s and eight appearances for the under-16s.[21]

In October 2013, Ethiopia's coach Sewnet Bishaw and Ethiopian foreign minister Adhanom Tedros stated that they hoped Zelalem would opt to play for Ethiopia.[22]

On the 12 November 2013, Zelalem represented Germany at under-17 level in a friendly versus Spain.[23] In March 2014, he withdrew from the Germany U17 national team for the Group 5 2014 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship elite round fixtures.[24]

Personal life[edit]

In 2006, Germany-born Zelalem emigrated to the United States with his father following his mother's death in 2005.[25] In May 2014, it was reported that Zelalem's father, Zelalem Wolydes held U.S. permanent residency and intended to apply for U.S.citizenship. Under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, Gedion would also acquire U.S. citizenship and thus qualify for U.S. national soccer team eligibility. He would also be able to retain his Germany passport which allows him to live and work in the European Union without restrictions.[26]




  1. ^ "Gedion Zelalem". Arsenal FC. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  2. ^ 58 Gedion Zelalem. "Gedion Zelalem, Arsenal midfielder player profile | Barclays Premier League". Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Parisa Davoodi "Walter Johnson freshman to join Arsenal’s amateur program" The Black & White, Bethesda, Maryland, 10 November 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  4. ^ "8. Gedion Zelalem". Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Bird, Jeorge (11 April 2013). "Zelalem: Why Arsenal's German Youngster Will Be The Next Fabregas". Sabotage Times. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Coombs, Dan (15 April 2013). "Zelalem plays another 90 minutes as Arsenal's u-21s win". Here is the City Sport. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Arsenal name 24-man squad for Asia Tour". Arsenal F.C. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "No Longer a Secret: Gedion Zelalem Shines for Arsenal". World Soccer Talk. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  9. ^ Magnan, Andrew (22 July 2013). "Starlet Gedion Zelalem excelling on Arsenal tour". ESPN FC Blog. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  10. ^ Cordova, William (25 July 2013). "Gedion Zelalem is Arsenal's latest teenage prodigy". GiveMeSport. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  11. ^ Back, Adrian (6 August 2013). "Arsenal’s Latest Midfield Prodigy Gedion Zelalem on His Ambitions for Next Season". International Business Times UK – Sports & Stars. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Clarke, Richard (4 August 2013). "Arsenal 1–2 Galatasaray – Match report". Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  13. ^ Phillips, Owen (24 August 2013). "Fulham 1–3 Arsenal". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "Zelalem ruled out for eight weeks". Arseblog News. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  15. ^ Haine, Will (28 October 2013). "Arsenal: Zelalem struggling with injury". GiveMeSport. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  16. ^ Coombs, Dan (8 November 2013). "Arsenal wonderkid Gedion Zelalem makes injury comeback as a number 10". Here is the City Sport. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  17. ^ MacAree, Graham (24 January 2014). "Arsenal vs. Coventry City: Final score 4-0, Podolski brace sees Gunners through". SBNation. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "Cazorla, Ramsey, Zelalem sign contracts". Arsenal FC. 18 March 2014. 
  19. ^ "Games played by Gedion Zelalem in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  20. ^ Snyder, Matthew (13 August 2012). "Arsenal: Meet Gedion Zelalem, the Newest Star to Join the Club's Academy". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  21. ^ "National team player Gedion Zelalem". Deutscher Fussball-Bund. 
  22. ^ "Gedion Zelalem: Ethiopia keen on Arsenal teenager". BBC Sport. 15 October 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  23. ^ "DFB - Deutscher Fußball-Bund e.V. - Statistik". Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  24. ^ "Arsenal wonderkid turns down Germany call up". 25 March 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  25. ^ Goff, Steven (21 August 2011). "Arsenal takes look at Gedion Zelalem, a 14-year-old Ethiopian-German living in Washington". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  26. ^ Goff, Steven (2 May 2014). "Arsenal’s Zelalem nearing U.S. eligibility". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 

External links[edit]