An excerpt from Steven Goff's super-fine piece on D.C. 14 year-old Gedion Zelalem, who recently spent 10 days training with Arsenal’s prospects.
"Zelalem is not the first high school soccer player from the area to seek a pro career. Most famously, Freddy Adu, a native of Ghana and a naturalized U.S. citizen, signed with Major League Soccer in 2004 at age 14 and played regularly with D.C. United for three years before being traded to Real Salt Lake.
Zelalem is a different case, in several ways. Contrasting the flash and explosiveness that made Adu an international sensation at age 12, Zelalem is a nuanced player who orchestrates from a deep central position and threads passes through narrow channels. He has an assist in each match for Walter Johnson and hasn’t scored.
“His sophistication and understanding of the game is far higher than anyone I’ve seen,” said Wildcats Coach Mike Williams, a former Howard University defender. “He is able to set the tempo like none other.”
D.C. United youth program, where ya at?