Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah commits to US national team

CHICAGO — Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah has committed to the U.S. national team program, four months after making his American national team debut.

Musah also was eligible to play for England, Italy and Ghana.

“I think it makes sense to represent the country I was born in,” Musah said in a statement released by the U.S. Soccer Federation Monday. “The moment I decided to play for the United States came one day when my heart told me that this was the best place for me.”

The 18-year-old was born in New York City on Nov. 29, 2002, while his Ghanaian mother was visiting relatives.

He moved to Italy with his family when he was months old, lived in Castelfranco Veneto and played for a camp run by the club Giorgione.

Musah’s family moved to London in 2012 and he joined Arsenal’s youth academy. He helped the Gunners under-18 team reach the 2018 FA Youth Cup final and the 2018-19 Youth Premier League South championship. Musah signed with Valencia in 2019 and made his first team debut on Sept. 13 against Levante. He scored his first goal against Getafe on Nov. 1 following a 60-yard run.

Nico Estevez, an assistant coach with the U.S. team who also worked for head coach Gregg Berhalter with Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew, worked for Valencia’s academy for eight years and briefly was interim coach in 2013.

Musah played for England youth national teams starting at the under-15 level and played against the U.S. under17 team on Nov. 29, 2017, at Lakewood Ranch, Florida, and Oct. 12, 2018, at Chester, England. He was on England’s roster for the 2019 European Under-17 Championship but did not appear in a match.

Musah made his U.S. senior national team debut in an exhibition at Wales on Nov. 12 and also player against Panama four days later, becoming the first player under 18 to start multiple matches for the U.S.

“Yunus is very dynamic,” Berhalter said in a statement. “When he accelerates or changes direction or sprints, you see the raw athleticism. To go along with that, he’s very skilled and we see him playing in the attacking midfield type of position.”

Berhalter expects to select Musah for his roster for exhibitions against Jamaica on March 25 in Austria and at Northern Ireland three days later.

The U.S. starts delayed World Cup qualifying on Sept. 2, most likely at Trinidad and Tobago or El Salvador.

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