The German Bundesliga continues to be the most popular destination for young Americans.
Twelve Americans played for Bundesliga clubs in 2021-22, and that doesn't include a player like German U-21 Malik Tillman (Bayern Munich), who is eligible to play for the USA and indeed might be called up for the June window.
But it was across the board a rough year for the American contingent.
Gio Reyna was off to a great start at Borussia Dortmund when he was injured playing for the USA in World Cup qualifying. He returned to action after the winter break but was injured two more times, the second more seriously than the first.
John Brooks played 2,618 minutes for Wolfsburg, the second-most minutes he's played in a season in his career, but he struggled early in the season as Wolfsburg collapsed. He is now a free agent, having played out his contract after five seasons with Die Wolfen.
Tyler Adams started just 12 games -- and only three over the last four months of the season -- at RB Leipzig as his playing time dropped following the exit of Jesse Marsch, his mentor at the New York Red Bulls. Chris Richards also started only three games over the last four months of the season after being injured in the USA's World Cup qualifier against Canada on Jan. 30 and then injured again in April.
Julian Green helped Greuther Fuerth earn promotion to the Bundesliga, but it never found its footing and Green's playing time plummeted over the last six months.
Of the five first-year players who arrived in Germany from MLS clubs, Joe Scally saw the most action, excelling in the early going for Borussia Moenchengladbach, but he later lost his starting job when Stefan Lainer returned to action.
But no player struggled more than teenager Ricardo Pepi, whose play for the USA in the first two windows of World Cup qualifying earned him a move to Augsburg from FC Dallas for a reported transfer fee of $20 million. Pepi was almost immediately thrust into action at Augsburg but never found his rhythm and soon found himself on the bench.
Americans in Bundesliga (2021-22)
1. John Brooks (Wolfsburg, 29, 9th season), 31 games, 1 goal, 1 assist (3.62 Kicker rating)
2. Joseph Scally (Bor. M'Gladbach, 19, 1st season), 30 games, 1 goal, 2 assists (3.93 Kicker rating)
3. Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig, 23, 4th season), 24 games, 1 assist (3.94 Kicker rating)
3. Julian Green (Greuther Fuerth, 26, 2nd season), 24 games (4.38 Kicker rating)
5. Chris Richards (Bayern Munich/Hoffenheim, 22, 3rd season), 20 games, 1 goal, 1 assist (3.53 Kicker rating)
6. Timothy Chandler (Ein. Frankfurt, 32, 12th season), 17 games (4.10 Kicker rating)
7. Ricardo Pepi (Augsburg, 19, 1st season), 11 games (4.56 Kicker rating)
8. Gio Reyna (Bor. Dortmund, 19, 3rd season), 10 games, 2 goals, 1 assist (3.38 Kicker rating)
8. George Bello (Arminia Bielefeld, 20, 1st season), 10 games (4.63 Kicker rating)
10. Justin Che (Hoffenheim, 19, 1st season), 2 games
10. Lennart Maloney (Bor. Dortmund, 22, 1st season), 2 games
10. Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg, 19, 1st season), 2 games
Note: Seasons represent seasons played in the Bundesliga. Kicker rating is average of Kicker match ratings, done on a scale of 0-high to 6-low.
Well, that's a depressing article...I hope these guys can get better (primarily healthwise) avoid injuries and find a way to thrive. It's a cold cruel world out there. Maybe some national team success will help them find better situations.
No surprise. This is not shocking. Pepi is a perfect example of the overblown ravings of our American player that go to Europe. The problem begins with the American soccer press who lack game insight or better put, lack due diligence in presenting the weaknesses, technically, tactically speaking, about the player that could possibly give him future difficulties. Instead, the American soccer press is more interested in printing stories about our players going to Europe as if to say these players of ours have made the grade to go to play in to Europe .....THAT'S IT!!!
I have never been impressed with Pepi. And because he scored two goals in one game for the National team, the press made him out to be the next American soccer savior. OK, fine, he's our next savior, then the question posed is what makes him good, speaking tactically ,technically and what are his weaknesses that could present difficulties to him in the future when going to Europe? PERIOD!!!
Why don't we ever get discussions like that or for that matter about Pulisic. All we get from the American soccer journalists are 'rah, rah' stuff, nothing insightful. In Holland, in soccer circles, print, the media , from the players and coaches, and SOCCER JOURNALISTS, discussions about players, especially those who have risen above the norm like a Pepi, CP, in terms of their abilities,and contributions, positive and negative. This is what the average dutch soccer fans can learn from about their players, thus eliminating shocks like in Pepi's case. This ,sorry to say, is not what our American soccer fans learn due to the lack good reporting by American soccer journalists.
Now a soccer journalist doesn't need to have played at the highest level although it be nice that he's had some experience. But it doesn't take a genius to realize if you want bring a more rounded discussion is to include those who know the game, players, coaches and the like to get a more balance opinion about a player, a more REALISTIC picture. This is one of the problems ,I sense, about American soccer journalists as a whole, who tend to write at the level of Sports Illustrated or for some sport magazine you find laying around at the doctor's office.