How USMNT prospects adapt to life in Europe and what their clubs do to help

How USMNT prospects adapt to life in Europe and what their clubs do to help
How USMNT prospects adapt to life in Europe and what their clubs do to help

Joe Scalley is one of three young Americans leaving the United States for Europe this January. Brenden Aaronson has left Philadelphia Union for FC Salzburg, his former teammate Mark McKenzie has signed with Genk and Scully completed his move to Borussia Monchengladbach by signing with them just over a year ago.

She packed five suitcases for her move from New York to North Rhine-Westphalia. He had everything with him, from an XBox One to clothes for all seasons and various souvenirs, but he forgot one important item: Pancake mix. Meanwhile, Mackenzie is still trying to figure out how to bring his incredible shoe collection (100 pairs and counting) to Belgium.

Indent: A few minutes with Aaronson | Watch in stock : Hoppe, Musa, Yedlin, Green | Scouting Report: Otasovje

Young American international and right-back Scully signed for Borussia Monchengladbach over a year ago, in December 2019, but had to wait until this month to join the club after his 18th birthday. Birthday on New Year’s Eve to join the club. On the third. In January, he waited until the last minute, greeted his family and girlfriend at the gate of John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens and flew to Mönchengladbach to complete the year’s move.

Scully had never lived outside before – he discovered early on that he could handle eggs for breakfast, but had trouble organizing lunch and dinner. His current specialty is sausages and baked pasta. I also added sauce, he told ESPN.

Scully currently lives on the Borussia Mönchengladbach campus, where the stadium and training ground are located. Four suites are available at the on-site hotel for new players; from there, the club’s player relations staff will assist in finding permanent accommodation. Scully plans to live on her own, but plans to find a place in the city large enough to house her family and partner once VIDOC-19’s containment rules are relaxed.

Mark McKenzie was introduced as a Genk player last week after joining the Philadelphia Union. JORICK JANSENS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

An hour further west, on the other side of the Belgian border, Mackenzie settles in Genk. He pointed the finger at his family by choosing an apartment and a car, a Mercedes C-Class. It’s definitely a step up from my old Honda Accord, McKenzie told ESPN. He has a photographic memory, which allows him to orient himself in his new hometown, but he still relies on his team leader Wout Maris for important local information.

I’m trying to familiarize myself with the rules of conduct here. I think it was the biggest adjustment to get up to speed, McKenzie says. Wout was very open about the fact that they have speed sensors everywhere! Watch your speed so you don’t get a ticket.

For Scully, the move to Gladbach was long. When he played his final season at NYCFC as part of a confirmed transfer, his teammates called him Moenchengladbach in training.

I was focused on NYCFC, but in the back of my mind I had something like a bigger year ahead of me, Scally told ESPN. His training program has been adjusted slightly to align with Gladbach’s – he would spend more time in the weight room. And in the months leading up to his move, he kept in close contact with one of his best friends: Giovanni Reina at Borussia Dortmund.

I told her a lot about life, the play, all that stuff, Scully says. Especially now that I’m only gone for an hour, I can see it, which makes things much easier. He told me it would be hard at first, but it gets better, and that’s good.

ESPN covers the biggest stories of American stars traveling abroad, provides insight into their successes and challenges, interviews the best players on the national team and explores the next generation of Americans making their way through Europe.

Scully enjoyed her adjustment period and told ESPN that the introduction to life in Gladbach was very, very welcoming. The players took me under their wing and helped me a lot. He has a lot to do with Oscar Wendt, a Swedish defender who is friends with NYCFC defender Anton Tinnerholm and 18-year-old midfielder Rocco Reitz. Then comes the training: It’s more intense than he’s used to, but he’s looking forward to digging.

At Ghent, in the Belgian A-League, central defender Mackenzie found that the intensity of training naturally forced him to take his game to the next level. At the end of the day, I try to push myself, but I also try to push my teammates, to make their jobs, their lives harder, McKenzie said. The trick with the treatment is that you have to be quick, you have to know what to do before you get the bullet. Your awareness of your situation on the ground.

As centers, runs and interchangeability between strikers and positions, I think the pace and intensity in all these areas has gone up a notch.

Scully has two pressing things on her to-do list. He has to learn German first. It is difficult… I go to school because I need to learn the language. Most of the guys on the team speak English, so it wasn’t difficult, but the coach speaks German when he trains. And the second one? He needs another game console. Everyone here has a PlayStation… the guys on the team: We don’t play Xbox. It’s All FIFA, Fortnite, Call of Duty….. I’m good at FIFA.

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Scully is just one of 50 American selections in the top three German divisions. Many others have found their way from the states to the continent or other countries to establish themselves in the Bundesliga. On the German side of TSG Hoffenheim, youngsters between 16 and 18 can choose between boarding and host family. We like to place them with host families because it helps them keep their feet on the ground and adapt, says Tony Mamodali, head of international affairs at Hoffenheim. But all actors are different. Some are 16 and 25 years old, others 22 and have never cooked a day in their lives.

Scully turned 18 on New Year’s Eve and was able to complete his move from New York City to Borussia Moenchengladbach, where he is already well established. Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

When a player moves to the senior team – or in the case of players newly contracted to the first team – the club has two player advisors close to the team manager, one of whom is close to the Brazilian players they sign.

They provide housing, logistics and help them settle in, Mamodaly says. They provide recommendations [to new signers] on the best places to live and provide their health insurance. One of the most important things is communication: We want them to be part of the team, so they have to speak the language. Hoffenheim has full-time teachers and a partnership with Anpfiff ins Leben, an organization that helps young people prepare for their future, both professionally and personally, to help players adapt.

We try to help children develop not only as athletes, but as people, and we use sport as a means to access life, says Mamodaly.

Hoffenheim also welcomes midfielder Lucas Tamarez, 16, from Las Vegas, and winger Quincy Butler, 19, from Sacramento, California. We really try to be there for our boys 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, says Mamodali. According to our team leader, we can give them wings, but they have to learn to fly themselves.

Scully is still waiting for his kitchen to be finished, but he’s stuck in Gladbach with a constant routine of working out and then FaceTiming with his family and friends every day. He loves living in Germany and is looking forward to his debut, but he can’t get enough of pancakes. I can’t find the compound anywhere, Scully says. I told Gio, and he made the same mistake, so he brought it up from home. So I have to find her.

And while Mackenzie has a few pairs from his 100-piece shoe collection, he’s trying to figure out how to get rid of the rest. It will certainly be very interesting to try and send my precious cargo from home to here, says Mr McKenzie. But I picked up a few trinkets to make the next house feel like home. — Tom Hamilton, with additional reports by Jeff Carlisle and Stefan Wersfeld.

A few minutes with… Brenden Aaronson.

Aaronson moved to Salzburg with perhaps the most MLS players to move abroad since Alfonso Davies left the Vancouver Whitecaps for Bayern Munich, where he became one of the best left-back players in the world, if not the best. There’s no doubt about it: In the United States, a large portion of fans are more interested in the Austrian Bundesliga than ever.

Following his Salzburg debut in a 6-0 win over second division side Worwarts Steyr, Aaronson spoke to ESPN’s Sebastian Salazar about his move to Europe.



Brenden Aaronson talks about the abundance of young talent in the USMNT system and his goals with the team.

Hours of storage: Assess the advantages and disadvantages of being American abroad

Matthäus Hoppe, Schalke 04 – Up Hopp’s breakthrough was a remarkable event. The 19-year-old Californian was never a particularly experienced goalkeeper in Schalke’s youth ranks, leaving some at the club unsure about his participation in the senior team, a source told ESPN’s Stefan Wersfeld, but he had a reputation as a hungry player who was eager to train. In addition to the size and speed he brings to Schalke 04’s front line, Hoppe has also proven to be a highly effective player, finishing with four goals in six Bundesliga games.

Now that his numbers are known, he will be unable to catch his opponents, which will only increase the pressure on his shoulders after the arrival of club striker legend Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

Younus Musa, Valencia. Trend: After causing a sensation in the early months of the 2020-21 La Liga season, Musa has since proven himself. However, being only 18 years old, his fall to earth can only be seen in relation to his formidable debut, as he has been in the starting eleven in just two of Valencia’s last eight games. According to ESPN’s Sid Lowe, this has nothing to do with the New York midfielder’s regression, but rather the return to form of Goncalo Guedes and Denis Cherishev, as well as the arrival of Thierry Correia to push Daniel Vaz out of midfield.

The circumstances of the reduced team forced Musa off the field, and the situation of his teammates now suits him and takes shape – at least for now.

DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle United — Up: In the first three months of the season, Yedlin played just 180 minutes at Newcastle, all in the Carabao Cup. Since early December, he has been in the starting eleven in six of the ten games and has left the bench in two others. Steve Bruce seems to be on the right track this season, but the former Seattle Sounders football player has a hot hand right now. Ultimately, he may yet leave the club when his contract expires in the summer – this curve of form will only increase the number of interested parties – but his departure may not be the conclusion he seemed to expect if he continues to spend minutes in the middle of the Magpies’ table.

Julian Greene, Greuther Fürth — up: In good shape, Green has always been a force for Firth, but this season he has reached new heights. Sources told ESPN’s Stephan Wersfeld that the team has gone from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 – meaning Green has moved from the position of winger to number 8 – and that he has fully internalized manager Stephan Lytle’s methods in his second season by taking over the number 2 position. The Bundesliga club is in the middle of a promotion race.

Green, who made his US debut six and a half years ago, is only 25 years old and has not given up hope of returning to the national team.

2 Connected

A year and a week after making his senior debut in the Europa League against Besiktas (4-0), the 20-year-old made his international debut on January 21. December against Burnley for his first Premier League appearance. Despite being sent off after an hour by Nuno Espirito Santo, Otasovier showed a good race, with skillful first contact and no lack of confidence.

As we saw on the evening at the Turf Moor, the American may need a few more games to get used to the pace of traffic in Premier League midfield, as he has been possessed on several occasions. But since then, Otasovi has been off the bench for a few minutes: In fact, he could have started the New Year as an unlikely hero had he headed his header under the bar in injury time in the 3-3 draw with Brighton just before the final whistle.

The New York-born midfielder, who made his first international appearance with USMNT in November with a late substitution against Wales, is easily recognizable for his imposing stature and clean ball control. Whether he will ever be a full midfielder or a No8 is still a matter of debate, but he clearly has the qualities needed for a career in both roles: He generally has a measured and accurate passing game, takes up reasonable positions and struggles with the ball when running forward, although he tends to overdo this aspect and can face free kicks. — Thor-Christian Carlsen

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