USMNT Fans Shouldn’t Jump on the Gedion Zelalem Hype Train


Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great thing that Gedion Zelalem pledged his allegiance to the USMNT over Germany and Ethiopia. If Jurgen Klinsmann only does one thing right, it is recruiting the players for the USMNT over their other options. Julian Green and John Brooks are two that come to mind and we saw glimpses of their brilliance during the 2014 calendar year. Now Zelalem is another player that can contribute to the USMNT’s success, but don’t jump on the hype train just yet.

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Zelalem is only 17. He turns 18 in January and has yet to be featured in a Premier League match. Zelalem is the age of a college basketball or football recruit. Yes, it seems like he’s a talented player and it’s wise for US Soccer to recruit players like him. However, fans need not get on the hype train and start saying Zelalem is the future of US Soccer, he’s the next Landon Donovan, He will save USMNT, etc etc. Like I said, he’s only 17 about to turn 18. His future is bright and the potential is there, but success is not guaranteed.

Just look at Freddy Adu for example. Because of a bunch of reasons, he didn’t succeed. He has gone from team to team in the last few years and has yet to find a permament home. Yet, at a young age soccer fans labeled him the next big thing and the face of the USMNT and MLS. Well, those labels must have gone to his head and his play ended up not being what many expected.

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Let’s learn from history and not make the same mistake with Zelalem. There’s many within soccer circles that are saying development of players takes time and I 100% agree. Zelalem will take time to develop and become a better soccer player. He may not pan out to be the best, but that’s for us to see down the road. For now, USMNT have gotten another potential key player that may be apart of their success moving forward. 2015 and 2016 will present many opportunities for Zelalem to shine with the 2015 Gold Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Yet, another place he can become a household name is on the USMNT U-20’s team. He won’t turn 20 until 2017, so he has ample time being eligible for the U-20’s squad.

Zelalem is a budding, young soccer star that could bloom into the next big deal. However, for now nothing is guaranteed and he most work hard in order to develop into what many people are envisioning him doing for the United States. It’s great fans are all hyped up about him joining the USMNT, but don’t hop on the Zelalem hype train until he proves himself and his worth to US Soccer, the media, and the fans.

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