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Columbus Crew’s American-Born Midfielder Accepts Iraq Call-Up

American-born Justin Meram has accepted a call-up to the Iraqi national side.

On first appearances it might seem a controversial move – but Meram qualifies to represent Iraq through his parents who were both born in the gulf state.

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Nonetheless, the Crew midfielder admits he has never been to the country he has chosen to represent, meaning his first experience will come when he gets off the plane in Baghdad for the upcoming Gulf Cup of Nations. The competition is an eight-team event which will be hosted in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and will run from the 13th to the 26th November.

“This is something I’ve waited for my whole life” Meram said. “The number one focus was the Iraq national team, that’s always been my focus. I had my family come from [Iraq] and it’s my culture, I was raised with it. I’m just so happy that I’m a part of it now”.

Iraq will face Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates in their group stage matches, with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen making up the other half of the draw.

 

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