Soccer

Kenny Saief is now eligible to play for the USMNT

FIFA has approved Kenny Saief's application to switch from Israel to the United States and he is now eligible to play for the Americans. The approval comes two weeks before the Gold Cup, which Saief may play in.

Saief was born in the U.S., but moved to Israel when he was four years old. He grew up in Israel and represented the country at the U-19 and U-21 levels. Because of that, he had to file for a one-time switch with FIFA to play for the U.S. Now that he's done so, and it has been approved, he can only play for the Americans and can never switch to another country.

Saief plays for Gent in Belgium, where he's gotten time in both the Champions League and Europa League. He's an attack-minded midfielder who can play on either wing and that versatility could help him with the U.S. He's also just 23 years old, so he should be in the U.S. picture for a while.

Bruce Arena named Saief to the Americans' 40-man preliminary roster for the Gold Cup and, now that his switch is approved, the midfielder is eligible to play in the tournament. There's been no word yet from Arena on whether he intends to name Saief to the final 23-man roster, but the U.S. boss has said that he doesn't expect to call in many first-choice players, instead opting to take a look at some new players. That opens the door for Saief, whose international future is now officially (and permanently) tied to the U.S.

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