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Vancouver Whitecap's Kekuta Manneh granted United States citizenship

Kekuta Manneh is one step closer to being able to play for the U.S. national team after being granted citizenship.

CARSON, Calif. -- Kekuta Manneh has acquired U.S. citizen, moving the Vancouver Whitecaps forward closer to eligibility for the men's national team.

U.S. Soccer announced on Wednesday that Manneh had received his citizenship, after the opening practice of January training camp under new coach Bruce Arena. Manneh was one of 32 players named in the team for the annual winter camp.

Manneh still must receive a waiver from FIFA to play for the U.S. team, since he was previously called in for Gambia's under-20 team.

The 22-year-old Manneh was born in Gambia and moved to the U.S. as a teenager. He has spent the past four seasons playing for Vancouver while maintaining a U.S. residence in Washington state.

Injuries limited Manneh to 17 games with the Whitecaps last season. The speedy winger has 22 goals in 98 career MLS games, becoming the league's youngest player to record a hat trick.

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