KENYA BROWN - Monday, March 11, 2019
Gedion Zelalem has become the latest young player to head back stateside as it was announced on Monday that Sporting Kansas City signed him from Arsenal.
The German-born midfielder, 22, has signed a contract with Major League Soccer's Western Conference team for the 2019 season, with options for 2020 and 2021.
Zelalem was on an upward trajectory when he signed with the Gunners at age 15 in 2013. However, he would find it hard to break into the first team as he would only make appearances for the team in 2014 in the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League.
With no guarantees for playing time in the next season, Arsenal would send their prized midfielder out on loan for the 2015-2016 season as he head up north to Scotland, where he signed with Rangers who were in the second tier Championship. Zelalem would find himself in the starting line up for the Glasgow team and played a part in their promotion back to the Premier League as well as reaching the final of the Scottish Cup.
Zelalem would then go out on loan again, but this time to the Netherlands as he signed with VVV Venlo who were playing in the Eerste Divisie. He would also find success there as the team finished as champions and earned promotion to the Eredivisie.
After recovering from a serious knee injury, the 22-year-old is now looking to get his career back on track, and Sporting KC seem to be pleased to have brought in a young, versatile midfielder to help them in their quest to win silverware.
"Gedion is a talented player and we are excited to welcome him to the club," Sporting manager and sporting director Peter Vermes said in a statement. "We look forward to his integration into the squad as the team competes in multiple competitions throughout the season."
As for Zelalem, he is looking forward to returning to field and hopefully playing well enough to get back into the conversation for the US national team.
"I'm really excited to have this opportunity. The league is growing, and a lot of players have hit me up saying, 'I want to come to the league, it looks like a good league.' I can't wait to play," said Zelalem.
Zelalem follows the likes of Caleb Stanko, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Guido, Josh Perez and Russell Canouse who have left teams either in Europe or Mexico to play in MLS.