Meram playing for Iraq in 2015 AFC Asian Cup
|Full name||Justin David Meram
Justin Hikmat Azeez
|Date of birth||December 4, 1988|
|Place of birth||Shelby Charter Township, Michigan,
|Height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Playing position||Winger, forward|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of April 27, 2015.
† Appearances (Goals).
College and amateur
Meram attended Eisenhower High School, and played for local side Vardar, before going on to play two years of college soccer at Yavapai College in Arizona. Meram was a program standout at Yavapai, leading his team to back-to-back NJCAA National Championships, earning 2008 National Junior College Player of the Year honors, being named a NSCAA and NJCAA All-American, earning ACCAC Conference Player of the Year honors, and being named MVP at both the national and regional tournaments during the 2007 season, while setting a school record for points and finished second all-time in goals and assists.
He transferred to the University of Michigan as a junior in 2009, where he was named to the All-Big Ten second team both years, and to the NSCAA All-GreatLakes Region second team in his senior year in 2010. He finished his college career with 24 goals and 14 assists in 41 games for the Wolverines.
On January 14, 2011, Meram was drafted in the first round (15th overall) in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft by the Columbus Crew. He made his professional debut on February 22, 2011 as a second-half substitute in the first leg of the Crew's CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final series against Real Salt Lake, and made his MLS debut on May 28 as a late substitute in a 3–3 tie with Chivas USA.
Meram qualifies to represent Iraq through his parents who were both born in that country. Justin was the youngest of Hikmat “Sam” Aziz Meram and Lamia Mansour Hormis’ four sons. His parents are ethnically Chaldeans (Chaldean Catholics) from the Tel Keppe District of Mosul, who immigrated to the United States and met in the Detroit area. Justin's father came to the US in 1967 while his mother arrived in 1975. In 2013, Meram began a two-year process to gain dual citizenship to become eligible to represent Iraq. About representing Iraq internationally over the United States, Meram said, "My goal was (to represent) Iraq from day one." Meram's Iraqi passport lists his name as Justin Hikmat Aziz (with his first name, father’s name, and the name of his grandfather), following local naming conventions.
In October 2014, Meram was called up for a friendly against Yemen but did not attend as his club team, the Crew, were still involved in the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs. On November 10, 2014, it was announced that Meram was included in Iraq's final roster ahead of their group stage matches of the 2014 Gulf Cup of Nations. Meram became the first Major League Soccer ever to be called up by Iraq.
Meram went on to make his international debut, a start in the midfield, in Iraq's opening match of the tournament against Kuwait on November 14, 2014. Meram went on to play the full 90 minutes of the eventual 0–1 loss. In the match, Meram had several chances at goal, including a shot cleared off the line by a Kuwaiti defender just before halftime.
In December 2014, it was announced that Meram was called into Iraq's camp for four friendlies in the following weeks against Kuwait, Iran, and two against Uzbekistan. At that time, he was also named to Iraq's squad for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup to be held in Australia in January 2015. Meram made his competitive debut as a second-half substitute in Iraq's first match of the tournament, a 1-0 victory over Jordan on January 12, 2015.
International career statistics
- As of match played January 30, 2015.
|Iraq national team|
- 2015 AFC Asian Cup: fourth-place
- "NPSL Profile". National Premier Soccer League. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
- "Gulf Cup Profile (English)". gulfcup.sa/en. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
- "Gulf Cup Profile (Arabic)". gulfcup.sa. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
- "Meet the Arizona Sahuaros, Professional Soccer Team Members". Azsahuaros.com. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
- Michigan's Justin Meram drafted by the MLS' Columbus Crew
- Crew, RSL finish scoreless in testy CCL opener
- "Columbus Crew vs Chivas USA 05-28-2011 - Recap". MLSsoccer.com. May 28, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
- Mubarak, Hassanin. "JUSTIN MERAM: THE MOST FAMOUS JUSTIN IN IRAQ". iraqsport.wordpress.com. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
- Jardy, Adam. "Soccer: Crew’s Justin Meram called up to Iraqi national team". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
- حكيم شاكر يوجه الدعوة للمحترف في الدوري الامريكي جوستن ميرام ويؤكد التحاق قاسم بتركيا [Justin Meran callup] (in Arabic). Iraqfpg.com. September 16, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
- "Columbus Crew forward Justin Meram named in Iraq Squad for Gulf Cup". Fox Soccer.
- "Iraq vs. Kuwait". gulfcup.sa. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
- Schwepfinger, Ryan. "Meram earns first cap in start for Iraq". Columbus Crew SC. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
- "Columbus Crew SC winger Justin Meram named to Iraq roster ahead of 2015 Asian Cup". Major League Soccer. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
- "Columbus Crew SC's Justin Meram comes off bench to help Iraq beat Jordan in Asian Cup". Major League Soccer. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
- Justin Meram at National-Football-Teams.com