Palestine have added an interesting piece to their midfield puzzle by convincing Nazmi Albadawi to declare for the national team.
The North Carolina born midfielder has had an outstanding year for FC Cincinnati- notching 11 goals and 4 assists en route to a regular season USL Championship. FCC will join Major League Soccer- the American topflight- from the start of 2019 season.
“I couldn’t be happier to represent Palestine, I will give my all every single time I put the jersey on and hope to make all Palestinians proud.” Albadawi told Football Palestine.
Albadawi normally plays behind the striker, and did so for the majority of this past season with Cincinnati FC. That said, he can also player deeper in midfield as he did for North Carolina FC when he set a NASL record for assists in a single season in 2016.
His versatility will give manager Noureddine Ould Ali tactical flexibility ahead of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals.
The 27 year old playmaker is expected to make his debut in this month’s friendlies against Pakistan and China after receiving his passport and a release from the US Soccer Federation.
Albadawi’s family hails from Tarshiha in the far north of the country. His parents emigrated from Kuwait following the first Gulf War and settled in Raleigh, North Carolina where Nazmi was born.
The skillful midfielder played collegiately in North Carolina, first at Wake Tech Community College before walking on to the team at ACC powerhouse North Carolina State.
His hard work saw him rise from a fringe player to captain in his three years with the Wolfpack. After finishing university, Albadawi played for North Carolina FC for three years and was voted into the league’s Best XI in 2016 and 2017.
His stellar performances in the USL and NASL have not gone unnoticed as he has been widely regarded as the best American born talent in the lower divisions for some time now.
FC Cincinnati’s ascension to MLS will give him a platform to showcase his skills against some of the best talents in the Western hemisphere. Before his debut MLS season, Albadawi will have an opportunity to introduce himself to the Middle East and Asia as a member of Palestine’s national team.
Albadawi will be the fourth Palestinian-American to represent Palestine internationally following in the footsteps of fellow NC State alumnus Shaker Asad, Morad Fareed, and Omar Jarun.