06 July, 2010

Is Alexander Zahavi a future USMNT player?

Well below the radar lies Alexander Zahavi. What? You haven't heard of the kid? He's the next great thing.

Yeah, well, we've all heard that line before. Now, here's the interesting thing. He's a tri-national. Born in LA, with Israeli and Portuguese passports, Zahavi currently plays left wing for Sporting Lisbon. At 19yo, the 5'7" right footed winger has been doing well enough to have call-ups to the Portuguese U20 team and is currently on perennial foreign national player destroyer Rongen's short list. He's been playing in Israel and Portugal for most of his life, so his development hasn't been hampered by the current youth and college system here.

Considering we are relatively weak on the left wing (I think we have, what, Bedoya out there as a potential?) and our other wingers are going to be pretty old during the next Cup cycle, this guy looks promising for the future. Definitely one to keep in your file of "Yeah, I know about him. Doesn't he play for..." Jeopardy game card.

From "I feel very confident speaking to him and in speaking with his roommate and teammate Greg Garza, that he's totally committed to play for us," Rongen told YA from San Jose. "The reasons why he hasn't been part of two camps is that Sporting didn't release him. He was actually injured the past two weeks. Even if Sporting had let him go, he wouldn't have been able to go."

Now, our next U20 games are in the Milk Cup against China on Jul 26th and then against Denmark on the 28th. Whether he makes a debut then is debatable. Currently, he could play for our U20 team without filing paperwork with FIFA, but if he's to play for the USMNT, he'll have to file paperwork in relatively short order. It'll be a one-time switch, so expect him to test the waters with Portugal first, or even see who the US brings in to manage the men's team before he commits.

In the meantime, feel free to view him in this mis-mash of highlights of artedobonsai and his youtube upload. He's #11 on the near side of the video.

Video: artedobonsai

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