The US Men’s National team has seen a drastic increase in young talent over the last few years, with over a dozen players currently playing in Europe. Players like Christian Pulisic and Weston Mckennie have become household names due to their success abroad, but how did they get there? Not only are we seeing a greater American presence in Europe’s top leagues, but we are seeing more teenagers travelling abroad in order to further their development as a footballer.
Christian Pulisic began his career at German club Borussia Dortmund at the age of 16, when he moved from his hometown of Hershey, Pennsylvania, to pursue his dream of playing professional soccer. It was in Germany where he grew as a player and improved his overall knowledge of the game. After excelling in the youth system, he was promoted to the senior team in 2016, at age 17. Since then he has joined Chelsea and was part of the 2021 Champions League winning squad.
Weston Mckennie was an FC Dallas academy product before joining the world-renowned Schalke 04 academy system. Like Pulisic, Mckennie made the decision as a teenager to move to Germany because he believed it would provide him with more opportunities to advance through the ranks and make it in the professional game. After spending less than a year with Schalke’s academy team, McKennie was promoted to the first-team squad in May 2017. After excelling in the Bundesliga, Mckennie was swept up by Italian giants, Juventus, where he currently plays an important role in their squad.
As the US National Team approaches the big game against neighbours, Canada, we went in to have a look at where some of the core US NT players are currently based. The result of our research is definitely proof of concept!
Yunus Musah: Arsenal, from age 10
Brenden Aaronson: RB Salzburg, from age 20
Zack Steffen: SC Freiburg, from age 19
Sergino Dest: Ajax, from age 12
Chris Richards: Bayern Munich, from age 18
Brooks Lennon: Liverpool, from age 17
Sebastian Lletget: West Ham, from age 17
Weston Mckennie: Schalke, from age 17
Antonee Robinson: Everton, from age 11
Christian Pulisic: Dortmund, from age 16
Luca de la Torre: Fulham, from age 14
Timothy Weah: PSG, from age 13
The European experience provides young Americans with a completely different perspective on soccer, education and culture. The system gives players a clear pathway to move up the ranks and excel throughout the process. There are thirteen current US Men’s National team players that spent their teenage years in Europe, educated by some of the top coaches and clubs on the planet. The benefits of travelling abroad to further one’s soccer and academic education are limitless, and we are starting to see them pay off with the national team.
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