01 March, 2014
BY STANLEY KAY
(Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Bongarts/Getty Images)
(SI) -Gedion Zelalem is a 17-year-old soccer prodigy who plays for Arsenal of the English Premier League. Zelalem was born in Berlin, but because he lived in the United States for eight years as a permanent resident, he is potentially eligible to play for the U.S. Men’s National Team in international play, including future World Cups.
But to suit up for the Stars and Stripes, Zelalem will have to become naturalized in America. This is where President Obama comes in to help lead America to World Cup glory, according to a group of fans hoping to see Zelalem represent the U.S. on the international stage.
A petition posted on Change.org calls for President Obama and U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati to “do whatever it takes” to get Zelalem on the national team. Zelalem is also eligible to play for Germany and Ethiopia, the latter being the native country of his parents.
The petition, filed by “Americans for Gedion,” is short and to the point:
We appreciate your positions as leaders of our nation, and we humbly ask you to turn your back on ethics and morality and do whatever it takes to get Gedion Zelalem to the US National Team. Because if we can’t have him, someone else will take him. And they’ll probably be Communists.
(For the record, neither Germany nor Ethiopia are communist countries.)
The petition’s authors underscore the urgency of the situation, as Zelalem has played several matches for German youth teams, though he has not yet fully committed to any country. Zelalem played for youth club Olney Rangers and Walter Johnson High School in the Washington, D.C. area, and now the petitioners are turning toward Washington in order to pave the path to the USMNT for the Arsenal midfielder.
What’s the master plan to naturalize Zelalem in time? Old-fashioned politicking.
Does that mean we’ll have to fast-track citizenship? So be it. Does that mean we’ll have to grease a few palms to get a passport for Gedion? I’m sure we could find a few crooked congressmen. (…)
Let’s break every rule and fully embrace as much governmental corruption as it takes to get Gedion Zelalem to the US National Team.
Even if the petition doesn’t work, we’ve at least discovered a possible plot for the third season of House of Cards. Small victories, America.