Going into 2022 World Cup Qualifying, the production from American soccer players is more important than ever. The national team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which was highlighted by a horrible loss against Trinidad and Tobago.
Qualification for the tournament in Qatar is paramount, and some of the players they will be leaning on the most are playing in the German top division.
Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams:
Two younger players that will be expected to contribute in the midfield for the US moving forward are Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams. Both have shown a ton of promise since taking their talents to the Bundesliga.
McKennie, who has been with FC Schalke 04 since joining their academy in 2016, has played a key role for the first team. The 21-year-old midfielder has made 71 senior appearances for the club including 20 starts so far in the 2019-2020 Bundesliga season.
Schalke are currently 10th in the league table, and the team has struggled to gain points in recent fixtures. The team has picked up zero points in their last four matches since leaving them with little to no chance of a Europa League spot for next season.
In those four matches in which the team has gained zero positive results, Schalke have only scored one goal. That goal was scored by McKennie, who slotted home a free kick with a diving header against Fortuna Düsseldorf in match week 28.
In a team that has lacked consistency in the attack, the American central midfielder has been a bright spot. McKennie will look to improve as he hopes to help Schalke have a top half finish in the Bundesliga this season.
Tyler Adams’ Bundesliga expierence has been much more different. Since joining RB Leipzig prior to the 18-19 season, he has only made 15 total starts in the league. Adams started this season with a groin injury, which forced him to miss the first half of the season.
Another thing that has made his transition to German football more difficult is the position he has played. Adams is most suited to be a defensive midfielder, yet he has featured as a right back in recent matches.
Leipzig is one of the most talented clubs in Germany, so the squad is full of talent that is taking minutes away from the American. Midfielders Kevin Kampl and Marcel Sabitzer are ahead of Adams in the depth chart, which is why he has featured as a wing-back.
Injuries have played a part in the slow start for Adams in the Bundesliga, but he will need to find more game time in order to progress as a central midfielder. He is only 21-years-old, and may need a move to a different club in the league if he is not able to get more game time.
Werder Bremen forward Josh Sargent has also had trouble settling in at his new club, but for different reasons. Bremen have a league low 30 goals this season, and the lack of support around him has left Sargent with only 3 league goals in 12 starts.
The American striker joined the club in 2018, and was only given one start as well. With Bremen currently sitting in a relegation spot with only six games to go, Sargent may see his club leave the German top flight.
He is only 20 years old, and it would make sense for another club to acquire him for next season if Bremen are relegated. Sargent is in contention to become the starting forward for the U.S. National Team, and needs to be playing first-team football at this point in his career.
Borussia Dortmund have gained the reputation as a club who thrives with developing young players, and Gio Reyna is preparing to take the next step in his career. At 17-years-old, the sky’s the limit for the American youngster.
Reyna has made 11 appearances in the Bundesliga, all coming from the bench. He has not contributed to a goal in the league yet, but he scored a fantastic goal against Werder Bremen in the DFB Pokal.
He was able to dribble through two defenders in a tight window, cut in on his right foot, and slot the ball into the top right corner of the net. At such a young age, there’s no denying that Reyna will be doing the same in the Bundesliga in the near future.
It almost feels certain that English winger Jadon Sancho will be going back to England, which will give Reyna more playing time at Dortmund. As the American is able to get more playing time, it is more possible that Reyna will be contributing for the first team as well.
John Brooks and Timothy Chandler:
Plenty of young Americans are thriving in the Bundesliga, but experienced players from the U.S. exist as well. Fullback Timothy Chandler is looking for one last push into the national fold, while John Brooks will be in contention to start a center back for the U.S.
Chandler is currently 30-years-old, and has been thriving for Eintracht Frankfurt. As a wingback, he has scored five goals in his last 11 appearances, including a brace against FC Augsburg on February 7th.
He has not appeared for the American national team since 2016, but Chandler should be considered for the World Cup Qualifiers. Scoring goals in the Bundesliga is hard enough, and it is remarkable from a defender.
For Brooks, it is a different situation for the defender from a national team perspective. The Wolfsbrug center back has already shown the ability to have success on a national stage by scoring in the 2014 World Cup against Ghana.
He is only 27-years-old and has shown the ability to shut down some of the best forwards in the Bundesliga. Since the return of the league, Brooks was able to contain youngsters Kai Havertz and Erling Halland to zero goals in their respective match-ups.
Brooks already has great experience in the Bundesliga and the World Cup, which could give him a leadership role in the U.S. National Team moving forward.
In recent years, the Bundesliga has given plenty of Americans the opportunity to play in Europe. Whether it has been youngsters or older players, players from the U.S. have thrived in the German top flight. For the future of U.S. soccer, more Americans should leave their comfort zone and go to the Bundesliga.
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