Bundesliga debut: Haji Wright breaks through in fourth season at Schalke 04

The American contingent in Germany has swelled this season with a new flock of teenagers seeking to break through at Bundesliga clubs.

That's easier said than done, as Haji Wright will tell you.

In his fourth season in Germany, the 20-year-old Californian made a surprise debut for Schalke 04 in its 5-2 win over Nuremberg.

Wright was the player Borussia Dortmund was supposedly scouting when it discovered Christian Pulisic playing with the U.S. U-17s at a tournament in Turkey. Pulisic, eligible for a Croatian passport that allowed him to play when he was 17, and Wright went to Germany about the same time, but the start of Wright's career was delayed because of age restrictions and it soon stalled.

After earning a spot on the bench of the 2016-17 season finale alongside fellow American teenager Weston McKennie, who came on as a late sub, Wright disappeared. While McKennie broke into the Schalke 04 starting lineup, Wright was shipped off on loan to tiny second division club Sandhausen, where he scored only one goal in 15 games (just three after the winter break).

He returned this summer to join Schalke 04's U-23s in the German fifth division. It was a string of strong performances with Schalke 04 II -- seven goals in only 553 minutes in the Oberliga Westfalen --  that earned him a call-up to the first team during the recent FIFA break and three minutes off the bench on Saturday.

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