Americans Abroad


via five til noon

Maxwell Vaughan, Writer

The United States National Team has stumbled upon a “golden generation” of players that might just be better than the Dempsey-Donovan-Bradley era of the late 2000s and early 2010s. Within the last couple months, young Americans have been accomplishing things in Europe that very few Americans have done before. It is only fitting that I share some of the recent success of our nation’s top players.

Dallas-native and FC Dallas Academy product Weston McKinnie just moved from Schalke to Juventus and is now playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. Despite only being in Turin for a couple weeks, he has impressed the coaches enough to earn a start in their first two Series A matches. Recently, 19-year-old Konrad de la Fuente just became the first American to play for the Barcelona first team (he has spent the last two seasons with Barcelona’s B team). Gio Reyna, son of former national team star Claudio Reyna, moved from NYCFC academy to Borussia Dortmund as a 16-year-old last year. Just recently, he scored his first ever Bundesliga goal and now should play a more prominent role in the team. To put this into perspective, this is a teenager who should be worrying about a math test like the rest of us. Instead, he’s scoring goals against some of the best competition in the world.

Ajax right back Sergino Dest is another example of Americans finding success in Europe. In the 2019-20 season, he was a mainstay in the Ajax starting 11, but with Barcelona letting Nelson Semedo leave, Dest is a likely candidate to replace him. He’s also been linked with other European giants like Bayern Munich. He’s still only 19 years old! Of course, I could not mention American success in Europe without mentioning American soccer’s superstar, Christian Pulisic. Since the Premier League’s restart, he has proved to be one of the most dangerous attackers in the league, netting three goals in his first five games back. He even proved he could perform against the best of the best, as he scored a goal and grabbed a flashy assist against Liverpool. He’s still only 21 years old, and has time to develop. If he can stay away from injuries, he might be the best American to ever touch a soccer ball.

Sticking with the Premier League, USMNT shot-stopper Zack Steffen made his first start for Manchester City in the EFL Cup. He spent last season on loan at Fortuna Düsseldorf, but now he is back in England. Although he is supposed to be the backup to Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson, there is a possibility that Steffen gets more minutes throughout the season, especially considering the fact that Manchester City’s defense and goal-keeping looked shaky in their 5-2 loss to Leicester City. In the Champions League, RB Leipzig’s Tyler Adams became the first American to score a goal at its quarterfinals. Consequently, he also became the first American to appear in the semi-finals of the Champions League since Demarcus Beasley made it with PSV Eindhoven in 2005. In other, smaller news, left-back Antonee Robinson has transferred from Championship side Wigan Athletic to the newly promoted Fulham. Chris Richards, another product of the FC Dallas Academy, has made multiple appearances for Bayern Munich’s first team in summer friendlies. The 20 year old center back will probably not get much time with the first team this year, but with David Alaba and Jerome Boateng on the tail ends of their careers, Richards could be a replacement for either of them. All in all, it is a very exciting time for US soccer. This is the most promising group of young players this nation has every seen.