As a midfielder, Zelalem plays for Scottish Championship side Rangers on loan from Arsenal. Internationally, he made appearances for Germany's under-15 to under-17 team during 2012 and 2013. Zelalem became a U.S citizen on December 29, 2014, and FIFA subsequently approved his eligibility to play for the United States on May 13, 2015.
He began playing for the German club BFC Germania 1888.
He was born in Berlin, Germany.