Augsburg sending Ricardo Pepi on loan to Netherlands is 'right step' for 19-year-old

The 19-year-old U.S. center forward Ricardo Pepi, who failed to score in 15 Bundesliga games after arriving at Augsburg on a $20 million transfer from FC Dallas, has been loaned to Dutch Eredivisie club Groningen for the 2022-23 season.

"Ricardo Pepi requested a loan, which is understandable with the World Cup coming up this winter," said Augsburg sporting Stefan Reuter. "We were able to strengthen our frontline with Mergim Berisha and we're sure that the Dutch league will provide a very good environment for a young player like [Pepi]. That's why we honored the request."

Berisha, a 24-year-old German center forward, scored 24 goals for the Jesse Marsch-coached Red Bull Salzburg during its 2020-21 double-winning season. He spent the last year with Turkey's Fenerbahce, scoring four goals in 23 Super Lig appearances.

A day before its Pepi acquisition, Groningen sold its leading scorer, 22-year-old Norwegian center forward Jorgen Strand Larsen (14 Eredivisie goals last season), to LaLiga club Celta for a reported $12 million.

Augsburg set a club record transfer fee to acquire Pepi from FC Dallas in January of 2022. Pepi had scored three goals and assisted twice in his first two World Cup qualifiers in 2021 and scored 13 goals during the 2021 MLS season.

Pepi, who appeared in 14 games last season as Augsburg finished 14th in the 18-team league, came off the bench in Augsburg's first four games of this season for a total of 93 minutes. Augsburg is in 14th place with three points.

Groningen is in eighth place of the 18-team Dutch Eredivisie. It's coached by former German U-20 national team coach Frank Wormuth.

"That also gives us a close connection with Groningen and we're certain this is the right step for Ricardo Pepi," Reuter said.

U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter, who earned 44 U.S. caps, started his pro career in the Netherlands, where he played six years for Zwolle, Sparta Rotterdam and Cambuur Leeuwarden in 1994-2000.
10 comments about "Augsburg sending Ricardo Pepi on loan to Netherlands is 'right step' for 19-year-old".
  1. frank schoon, August 31, 2022 at 7:36 p.m.

    ABOUT TIME......This can only improve his game. Groningen is where Arjan Robben learned to play...the only thing I don't like is that he's still learning under a German coach...

  2. Santiago 1314 replied, August 31, 2022 at 10:53 p.m.

    Come On Frank... WWII has been over for awhile... ;)... Did I tell you my Story from WC90, being on the Tram to Stadium in Milan for the Famous/Infamous West Germany v Holland game... The Dutch and Germans were Eying each other for a Rumble, when the Tram Door Opened and an Italian guy tried to get In... They ALL Kicked Him  back out the Door ... And burst in High Fives and Cheers... Of course Later in the Game the German fans were Racially Tounting the Dutch Black players by Throwing Bananas at them and Hooting like Monkies, While the Dutch fans keep giving the "Zieg Heil" Salute at the Germans and oh, I forgot... Rijkaard Spits on Voller... Quite a Game.!!!

  3. frank schoon replied, September 1, 2022 at 8:22 a.m.

    Santi, you should know me by now that my comments is strictly applied to soccer without historical bias. This is why I much rather would have seen CP have gone to Holland to a team like Ajax rather than to Dortmunt or Bayern. As a matter of fact I wish all our boys would go to Holland first and then when mature play in Germany or England or where ever but not the other way around.

    There is quite a difference in the dutch manner and mentality of coaching then German...I'm not saying one is better than the other but as far as player development goes I would prefer the dutch of over the German. The Germans are more of the hard work and 'fight' oriented whereas the dutch are more technical and thinking oriented....Bergkamp once stated, that if he grew up in Germany he would not have been successful,not have developed the way he did in Holland for his nature and build wasn't one of fighting and turbo.....

    I'm disappointed for Pepi to be training under a German coach, for he's had that type of training in the past year and a half in Germany and needs to get away from it. We are looking at player development and Holland would be better fit for our boys to learn the finer elements of the game first.

    And as far what these dutch 'idiots' in the stadium do to enjoy themselves  yelling 'zieg heil' and the Germans throwing bananas and racially taunt the dutch which also occurs in Holland at times, although the dutch are more racially diverse, is something that will ,hopefully, over the years disappear, it is what it is. 

    But this 'zieg heil' garbage has to be seen in light of if we had ended slavery only 70years ago, instead  of 170years ago. As you see my parents and the rest of the family members remember what happened when the Germans invaded Holland. My mother's home in Rotterdam was the only one left standing in the bombing on her block; you had to eat rats to survive. My fourth grade teacher told us how he saw people lined up and shot.  My generation who were born a few months after the war never experienced the horror and therefore didn't experience that history. I remember I got a stern talking to  when I stated that perhaps the 90year old Nazi that was caught was to just let him go.  I never went through that hell my family went through and with each younger generation the hate and memories lessen...

    I love seeing the Germans get beat but that is due to my soccer philosophy not history, England,item ditto....

  4. humble 1 replied, September 2, 2022 at 6:12 p.m.

    Frank, 100% agree with you.  Much better choice. Too bad about his lost time in Germany.  Good news is...he is young...very young.  Note that he is following in Luis Suarez's footsteps also.  Suarez transfered from Nacional in Uruguay to Grogningen before he joined Ajax the following year. Maybe for latino player, better point of reference, ex the biting of course.  Let me add on that the head coach, yes, will have an impact, but then then there is the staff and the culture at the club, and in the country, and of course the key is that the young men take what he practice on the training ground and do in game context.  This is always key for player growth - game context. 

  5. frank schoon replied, September 3, 2022 at 11:07 a.m.

    Humble, I totally forgot about Suarez....Looking at his overal career he had a lot of dutch type of coaching whether in Holland, at Groningen , Ajax, but also at Barca....

  6. humble 1 replied, September 5, 2022 at 6:07 p.m.

    Suarez is a bit of an enigma for many, because of his well documented antics, but for sure, his time in Holland was a key development phase in his career.  How many Uruguayans go to Holland?  Few.  Most go to Spain, Italy, then Portugal.  Why?  Easier, language, papers, etc.  Suarez chose Holland, not the easy familiar route.  I watched him play yesterday, he scored for Nacional off a volley against arch-rival Penarol in Uruguay.  Perfect techincal volley, seen in slow motion, could be textbook.  He would have developed and/or refined this and many other of the very technical parts of his game in Holland.  There, you can find coaches that have the knowledge and experience and passion to help players develop the technical parts of their game.  Mostly Ajax gets credit for this but at the ground level the knowledge is very well dispersed.  What Ajax has that is special is all the extras, facilities, best of the best coaches, and of course, the spotlight.  So, good for Pepi to get out of the spotlight at Groningen and return to what was assuredly part of his game before he got all the attention, working at getting better, every day.  Thanks! 

  7. Grant Goodwin, September 1, 2022 at 11:22 a.m.

    I think this can on help Pepi.  I mean, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore both scored a ton of goals during their time in the Eredivisie, so hopefully when he gets familiar with what Groningen wants from him...the goals will start flowing for him and he will get his groove back while hopefully improving his  game.

  8. Sean Guillory, September 1, 2022 at 6:07 p.m.

    Frank I agree the Dutch develop better than the Germans but the Germans win more so there must be something to that.  I mean if the philosophy was so much better it would translate to wins.  

  9. frank schoon replied, September 2, 2022 at 8:40 a.m.

    Sean, the Germans aren't the only one that won more look at Italy, Brazil, Argentina of which the latter two play more like the Dutch as far as technique and styles and don't forget the Dutch achieved 4times being second in the world cup and how many have achieved that. And furthermore, the dutch philosophy of soccer has permeated the world soccer philosophy. Not too mention for a little country as Holland we have produced many more exciting 'world stars' then Germany, and have in the last 60years have been a more major influence in how soccer is played.

    And although your right the Germans have won more, is like saying van Gaal has won more trophies as coach than Cruyff...but sorry to say, I have much more respect as to what Cruyff has done for soccer as coach, not to even mention as player....

  10. humble 1 replied, September 2, 2022 at 6:26 p.m.

    The winning of Germany as a nation is never relavent to young player developing, especially a non-German.  Always, always, the player should seek a desination where they will develop optimally.  Look to Pulisic.  Chelsea has won a lot.  They play in the 'Premier' League.  The best of the best.  They won the Champions League while he was there.  He has been very well paid along the way. All that said, do you think he feels he has developed optimally while there?  Do you think he feels he's on a path the being ready for the WC in Qatar?  Maybe not.  The glory and the money at destination clubs and leagues is always hard for players to resist.  It is a credit to Pepi that woke up and requested, and to the club, that they worked with the player, and maybe an assist to McBride, Stewart, Burhalter and co, I have no idea on that, but it has their fingerprints.  Keep it going Rico!     

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