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CHICAGO (AP) — Arsenal midfielder Gedion Zelalem has been cleared by FIFA to play for the United States and has been added to the roster for the Under-20 World Cup next month.
The U.S. Soccer Federation made the announcement Wednesday. FIFA's decision also makes the 18-year-old eligible for the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer and the under-23 team that will go to Olympic qualifying in October.
Zelalem was born in Germany to Ethiopian parents and lived in Maryland for six years before going to Arsenal's youth academy when he was 16. He has appeared twice for the Gunners, both times as a second-half substitute — against Coventry in an FA Cup game Jan. 24, 2014, and versus Galatasaray in the Champions League last Dec. 9.
Zelalem obtained U.S. citizenship in December, and the USSF applied to FIFA to make him eligible for its national team system.
The USSF also said University of San Diego goalkeeper Thomas Olsen will replace Molde's Ethan Horvath on the 21-man roster for the Under-20 World Cup.
Players start reporting Thursday to Carson, California, and the team leaves Saturday for a training camp in Australia and exhibition games against the Socceroos on May 19 and Serbia five days later. The U.S. opens the first round against Myanmar on May 30, plays host New Zealand on June 2 and finishes the first round against Ukraine on June 5.
Two years ago, the Americans were eliminated in the first round after losses to Spain and Ghana around a tie with France.
The revised roster:
Goalkeepers: Jeff Caldwell (University of Virginia), Thomas Olsen (University of San Diego), Zack Steffen (Freiburg, Germany)
Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham, England), Matthew Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Shaquell Moore (no club), Erik Palmer-Brown (Kansas City), Desevio Payne (Groningen, Netherlands), John Requejo (Tijuana, Mexico)
Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (Dallas), Paul Arriola (Tijuana, Mexico), Russell Canouse (Hoffenheim, Germany), Marco Delgado (Toronto), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham, England), Joel Sonora (Boca Juniors, Argentina), Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal, England)
Forwards: Jordan Allen (Salt Lake), Bradford Jamieson IV (Los Angeles), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht, Netherlands), Maki Tall (Red Star, France), Tommy Thompson (San Jose)
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