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Haji Wright loaned to overachieving 'village club'
by Paul Kennedy, August 11th, 2017 11:41PM
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TAGS:  americans abroad, germany


Haji Wrightis part of a wave of young Americans who signed with Germany pro clubs as soon as they became eligible. Ruhr Valley giant Schalke 04 is high on the 19-year-old forward but has sent him to Sandhausen, Germany's smallest pro club, for a year of seasoning.

Schalke 04 situation. Wright has three years left on his contract with Schalke 04, which he joined as a free agent in 2016 when he turned 18. Unlike Weston McKennie, who arrived last summer, Wright was not expected to get first-team minutes under new head coach Domenico Tedesco this season.

McKennie and Wright dressed for the final game of the 2015-16 season and McKennie came on as a sub to make his Bundesliga debut. Both played alongside fellow American Nick Taitague, which is a year younger, as Schalke's U-19s won the 2017 Westfalenpokal cup competition.

Sandhausen situation. SV Sandhausen is located in a town of less than 15,000 -- hence the reference to "Dorfverein," a "village club" -- about 200 miles south of Gelsenkirchen, Schalke 04's home.

In 2016-17, Sandhausen ranked last in attendance, averaging just 6,731 fans a game at tiny the BWT-Stadion am Hardtwald, but its 10th-place finish was its best yet in five seasons since it was promoted to the German second division.

Schalke sporting executive Christian Heidel: "Haji is on a very good path. What he needs most now is game time in professional football, and he can do that at Sandhausen now. He will return to us next summer to continue his development at Schalke."

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