Gedion Zelalem, a 22-year-old holding midfielder who has competed for both the United States and Germany in international play, has joined Sporting Kansas City in a transfer from English Premier League side Arsenal FC.
Zelalem has signed with Sporting KC for the 2019 MLS season, with club options for 2020 and 2021.
Zelalem, who was born in Berlin and is a dual citizen of Germany and the United States, spent the last six seasons with Arsenal’s youth and senior teams. His first international experience came with Germany at the U-15 through U-17 levels, then with the United States U-20s and U-23s after gaining U.S. citizenship in 2014.
“Gedion is a talented player and we are excited to welcome him to the club,” said Peter Vermes, Sporting KC manager and sporting director. “We look forward to his integration into the squad as the team competes in multiple competitions throughout the season.”
Zelalem moved to the U.S. with his father in 2006 and played for multiple academy teams in the Washington, D.C., area. He became one of the most heralded youth prospects in the country, eventually starring for Olney Rangers from 2011-13.
He moved to London in early 2013 to join Arsenal’s academy, rising from the U-16s to the U-21s in his first year with the Gunners. He was part of Arsenal’s senior squad during a July 2013 preseason tour of Asia and made his first-team debut in January 2014.
Arsenal loaned Zelalem to Scottish powerhouse Rangers FC for the 2015-16 season. Making 28 appearances in all competitions, he led Rangers to the Scottish Challenge Cup title, a first-place finish in the Scottish Championship and a promotion to the top-flight Premier League. He later moved to Dutch club VVV Venlo on loan for the second half of the 2016-17 season and most recently competed for the Arsenal U-23s.