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Zusigraham_kc Courtesy of MLS
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Graham Zusi's Screamer from 45 Yards

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MNT vs. Jamaica: Highlights—Sept. 11, 2012

Graham Zusi

  • DOB August 18, 1986
  • Age 27
  • Place of birth Orlando, Florida
  • POSITION Midfielder
  • HEIGHT 5'10"
  • WEIGHT 160
  • U.S. CAPS 18
  • CLUB Sporting KC
  • TWITTER @gzusi (25.5K followers)
  • Current ASN 100 Rank 12
  • Previous ASN 100 Rank 11
  • ASN QUESTIONNAIRE Read now

Graham Zusi looks more like the future of the United States national team than the past. The University of Maryland product—he scored the game-winner in the 2008 College Cup championship, playing alongside teammates Omar Gonzalez and A.J. Delagarza—has the type of vision and creativity that Jurgen Klinsmann wants in his charges. Zusi is developing into more of a goal creator than a goal scorer, although he's not afraid to take a chance when presented with one.

Zusi thrives in the midfield, playing an attacking role for both club and country. After serving as a frequent sub for Sporting KC during the 2009 and 2010 MLS seasons, Zusi broke through with 25 starts in 2011. He repaid coach Peter Vermes's faith with five goals and seven assists, earning MLS Breakout Player of the Year honors. He had continued success in 2012, leading MLS in assists with 15 and getting named a member of the league's best XI for the first time in his career. He was also one of three finalists for the MVP. His good form last season resulted in a chance to feature for the USMNT, when he earned his first call-up in January. During which he scored his first international goal, against Panama, in just his second cap. The tally proved to be the game-winner. "It was fun,” he said after the match. “The crowd was great. It was a fun environment to play in.”

The Florida-born midfielder also made the initial roster for Klinsmann's five-game tournament in May and June 2012 but was one of the last men cut. The player kept his head up, however, believing he was close to a more established place within the hierarchy of the U.S. team. "I talked to Jurgen for a while about some things, about where I am as a player. I agreed with pretty much everything. He said I’m pretty much knocking on the door, and I just need to keep playing hard and try to get better," he told SportingKC.com in June 2012.

And he will. Zusi's continuing on his upward trajectory. He's becoming a well-above-average MLS player and has shown himself to be a crucial part of the USMNT setup since Azteca.—NOAH DAVIS

Klinsmann on Zusi:
"Graham Zusi left a very strong impression in the January camp." (May 2012)

Noteworthy Reads

Zusi Named MLS Breakout Player of the Year (SportingKC.com)
Zusi Speaks U.S. Past Panama (ESPN.com)
Zusi: Klinsmann Says I'm "Knocking on the Door" of USMNT (SportingKC.com)
AmericanSoccerNow.