By Jason Davis – WASHINGTON, DC (February 5, 2021) US soccer player – If there is any consensus among soccer fans, then the top four leagues in Europe are the best in the world. In the order of the UEFA coefficient ranking we speak of La Liga, Premier League, Serie A and Bundesliga. England’s Premier League, the German Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga, Serie A of Italy. Ligue 1 in France is usually talked about but the UEFA coefficient for places in European competitions offers a break between the top 4 and everyone else.
American football fans have long been most interested in the Premier League. The English top division, the richest competition in the world, attracts the attention of billions of fans around the world every week. Because of its shared linguistic and cultural ties with the United States, the EPL is different from the rest as a place Americans want to play.
Or maybe. The times have changed. The league of choice for many aspiring Americans is now the German Bundesliga. While the Premier League restricted the opportunities for young US players to join its ranks, the Bundesliga opened its development paths to a group of talented American players. Combined with the presence of several German-born Americans who trade in the country, the Bundesliga is now rich in Americans stretching from the bottom of the table to the top.
The Americans have never had this representation in the competition in England. Even at the height of the Americans in the Premier League, US players usually gathered in the middle and lower tier of the table. The “Fulhamerica” days were wonderful, but the Cottagers never fought for a Premier League title. No American has ever won a Premier League championship, which isn’t in danger of changing this season.
It’s not just the Premier League, of course. The lack of an American master in England is only noticeable because the Americans have had a significant history there over the past two decades. In leagues where there were few Americans, like Serie A and La Liga, the record is also empty. Things could change soon.
Weston McKennie now plays for Juventus, where losing the title would be a bigger story than winning. With the revival of the Milanese clubs and Roma, they are not the best in Serie A, but figuring out Juve never makes sense. Sergino Dest and Konrad de la Fuente are at Barcelona chasing Atletico Madrid but are always a competitor. If we include Ligue 1, Timothy Weah’s responsibility for the team at the top of the table increases in Lille. In the meantime, the Bundesliga could also produce an American in a title-winning team this season.
There is a concentration of USMNT players in the top 6 of the Bundesliga standings. This is more than the result of an unusual season. The American presence at Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig has changed the scope in Germany. That’ll grow in 2020-21. Five of the six best teams in Germany currently have Americans on their rosters. The USMNT players in these ranks vary in age, experience, and rank.
The defending champion of Germany, Bayern Munich, is the clear favorite to take the trophy again this season. Until a few days ago, defender Chris Richards was the American in the squad. On Monday, the club awarded Richards to Hoffenheim.
Bayern’s relationship with Dallas was once again successful when the club announced that 17-year-old defender Justin Che was on loan before the deadline. Although Che is extremely young and will hardly play for Bayern’s first team this year, he stands for the continued commitment of Germany’s largest club to find players in the USA.
Chasing Bayern is RB Leipzig. RB Leipzig has its own pipeline for American talent through the club’s global network. Tyler Adams moved from the New York Red Bulls to an important part of the Leipzig squad, regardless of whether he started or went under.
Adams’ place on the USMNT roster is clearly defined. For Gregg Berhalter, his ability to cover the ground and slide into the defensive line when the full-backs push the field up is a luxury. The more he plays in Leipzig, the better for the national team.
Leipzig’s closest competition for second place in Germany is Wolfsburg, where USMNT central defender John Brooks holds the same position in the Bundesliga. At this point, Brooks is a USMNT institution, one of the few long-time and highly skilled players who are sure to be in the line-up of an important USMNT game. Brooks is known not only for his defensive work, but also his ability to distribute the ball.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s Timothy Chandler last played for the USMNT in 2018, although he has expressed an interest in a return for the national team. At the age of 30, Chandler is now a squad player at Eintracht and this season plays in five games for the surprise club, which is fighting for a place in the Champions League.
Eintracht has not finished sixth in the Bundesliga since 1993/94. You have never played in the modern Champions League, most recently in Europe’s best club competition in 1960.
Then there is Borussia Dortmund, the club that is most likely to top the table with Bayern Munich. In the Dortmund slip this season, the club is fighting for direction. There has already been a change of coach. That didn’t stop Gio Reyna from establishing himself as an integral part of the line-up. His breakthrough in 2020 turned out to be no accident. Reyna played except for one of the Dortmund Bundesliga games this season and started 13 of these 18 games. No matter who is responsible in Dortmund, Reyna’s talent requires playing time.
You don’t have to look for the first club in Germany to have an American on their team. The Americans are right at the top and play important roles in clubs that dream of trophies and Champions League places.
Jason Davis is the founder of MatchFitUSA.com and the host of The United States of Soccer on SiriusXM. Contact him: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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Photo by John Dorton – ISIPhotos.com