Expect Gedion Zelalem to suit up for USA in spring; more insider notes
You’re probably familiar with my “three thoughts” postgame pieces, which you should come back for after Chile-USA. Well, here are my three pregame thoughts/news items:
• Look for Gedion Zelalem to wear the Stars & Stripes this spring
When will we see the 18-year-old Arsenal midfielder in a U.S. jersey? The most likely scenario is March or April, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati says. There’s still some paperwork to be done, but Gulati expects Zelalem will be eligible this spring. The question is whether he’ll be called into a senior team or an under-20 camp.
U-20 coach Tab Ramos said he’ll meet with Klinsmann in early February in Los Angeles to decide. One big factor is this: Arsenal would be required to release Zelalem for a senior team call-up, while it wouldn’t for a U-20 call-up.
• Look out for Cameron Carter-Vickers
DeAndre Yedlin is now at Spurs, but Tottenham has an additional U.S. prospect who’s drawing rave reviews. Defender Cameron Carter-Vickers was terrific at the U-20 World Cup qualifying tournament despite just turning 17 on December 31, and Ramos (who’s not known for hyping players) says he’s already one of the best center backs he’s seen in the U.S. program in a decade.
Carter-Vickers’ dad, Howard Carter, is a former NBA player, and his mother is English, but he appears committed to the United States. Spurs is also very high on Carter-Vickers, who was born in England, and he’s expected to start training with the first team in the coming weeks.
• MLS labor talks to resume Tuesday
FC Dallas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who is on the MLS Players Union executive board, says the next meeting with MLS officials will take place in Washington, D.C., this coming Tuesday.
He expects the meeting will be contentious after talks took a negative turn last week.
The players say they will strike on opening day if free agency is not a part of the new CBA, but the league didn’t include anything on free agency in its most recent proposal.
There’s still plenty of time to reach an agreement: While the current CBA expires on Saturday, the players say they’ll continue in training camps with the real deadline being the start of the season on March 6.