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Columbus Crew midfielder in contention for call-up to Iraq


Greg Bartram

An Iraqi international has never played in Major League Soccer, but that could change soon. Columbus Crew midfielder Justin Meram has been on the federation’s radar for some time.

The Crew would not make Meram available for comment on the subject, but a spokesman told ProSoccerTalk that Iraq has made “repeated inquiries” about the player, and both parties are heavily interested. Meram is slogging through paperwork to become an Iraqi citizen and ensure that he is eligible to represent the Middle Eastern country.

Both of Meram’s parents were born in Iraq and immigrated to Michigan as teenagers. Meram was born in Shelby Township, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, and played for Eisenhower High School before heading to Yavapai College and University of Michigan.

Meram was the National Junior College Player of the Year both seasons at Yavapai and made the Second Team All-Big Ten twice at Michigan.

The Crew drafted him 15th overall in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, and Meram has made 57 appearances among his three seasons in the league, scoring five goals in 2,238 minutes played.

An earlier version of this story contained inaccurate information from foreign media reports that have since been clarified by the club.

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