BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, July 19, 2010
After leading Sporting Lisbon to two U19 Portuguese titles, midfielder Alexander Zahavi is on the verge of joining Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Premier League on a permanent contract.

"In the coming days he will hopefully sign a four year contract with Maccabi Haifa," press officer David Bazak told YA on Monday.

This transfer comes after statements from US U-20 head coach Thomas Rongen said that Zahavi was interested in playing for the US U20 team this cycle. Previously, Zahavi had played for Portugal's U17 team in an UEFA qualifying tournament.

For Zahavi to play in an official event for the US he must file to make a one-time switch with FIFA.

Rongen hopes to have Zahavi in action for the US team at the 2010 Milk Cup later this month in Northern Ireland but it is unclear if Maccabi Haifa will release him or if Zahavi is completely recovered from a recent leg injury.

Zahavi, 19, was born in Los Angeles but spent many years growing up in Israel. He holds passports for the US, Portugal and Israel.