HOME FROM HOME
Tyler Adams won’t be the firstAmerican to head to the Bundesliga, with some of his compatriots forging successful careers in Germany.
Upon first glance, the Premier League looks like it would be, well, the premier destination for Americans seeking to ply their trade abroad. After all, there is no new language to learn, and the long history between the United States and England makes settling in much more straightforward.
However, it’s the Bundesliga that seems to be the big draw – tricky language barrier and all – for Americans. Today the talk focuses on talents such as Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic, as well as up-and-coming names Josh Sargent
(Werder Bremen), Caleb Stanko (Freiburg), Weston McKennie (Schalke) and Jonathan Klinsmann (Hertha Berlin), who, of course, is the son of Jurgen. Sargent, like Pulisic, has been described as a wonder-kid due to his exploits with Werder Bremen, including netting on his debut, when he scored with his first touch of the ball. In the process he became the youngest player ever score in club history in a December clash with Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Others, like Bobby Wood (Hamburg), Fabian Johnson (Gladbach), John Brooks (Wolfsburg) and Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt) have been mainstays in the Bundesliga for some time and have been all part of the USMNT in various capacities over the years.
But before any of these players became known to American and German football fans, there were others who paved the way and made it feasible. The first-ever American player to make the trip was Andy Mate. Although he was born in Hungary, he eventually became a naturalised United States citizen after moving to America following the 1956 Hungarian revolution.
Although his time in Germany was brief due to the presence of legendary striker Uwe Seeler in the same team – he only made six appearances for Hamburg during the 1964-65 season – it still made it a possibility for others to follow in his stead, including Tom Dooley.
It took over two decades for Dooley to become the second American to feature in Germany, but Dooley spent the bulk of his professional career in German football’s various tiers, and eventually played for the likes of Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen, where he won the UEFA Cup and the Bundesliga. He was the first, and, to date, only American to lift the Bundesliga title.
Then, of course, there’s US football icon Landon Donovan, who featured for Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen, as well as Michael Bradley, who had a spell at Borussia Monchengladbach. Both Donovan and Bradley are interesting cases, as each also featured for other teams in Europe’s big five Leagues, with Donovan having several loan spells at Everton and Bradley going even further by trying his luck in Serie A with Chievo and Roma after a brief loan with Aston Villa.
So, Tyler Adams will just be the latest in a small but steadily growing line of players who have decided to say goodbye to America and ‘hallo’ to Germany in search of a new footballing adventure. It’s clear that American players have found a unique home from home across the pond – and it’s not England as would have been expected.