[AMERICANS ABROAD] Kainoa Bailey has played for the Academy teams of two MLS clubs -- D.C. United and Real Salt Lake -- but the 18-year-old is pursuing a pro career in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen.
The Nevada product’s signing became official when he turned 18 on Aug. 2 and he’ll start out with Bayer Leverkusen’s U-23 team, which competes in the Regionalliga, Germany’s fourth division. (The reserve teams of Bundesliga clubs have age restrictions in Germany’s lower divisions.)
Bailey was steered to Germany by former U.S. national team star Brent Goulet, who coached Bailey in 2012 at the now-defunct Nashville Metros of PDL. Goulet, who scored for the USA at the 1988 Olympics and six times in qualifying, played more than a decade in Germany and began his coaching career with eight seasons as assistant and head coach of SV Elversberg.
“Leverkusen is a good fit because they've dealt with Americans before such as Frankie Hejduk, Claudio Reyna and Landon Donovan,” says Goulet. “[Bayer GM] Michael Reschke said that they've learned from the past and will do everything in their power to make sure that Kainoa will have the best possible chance to excel at Bayer Leverkusen. ...
“Kainoa is very young and hungry -- and also very, very fast and talented. With the proper guidance in their youth system he will learn the game tactically and structurally, which in turn will help him play to these strengths.”