The landing of the United States in Europe grows

The country where the term soccer is not used to refer precisely to the sport we believe in, but rather to what we know as American football; or, on the contrary, in what is called 'soccer', it is beginning to reap its first fruits of the exhaustive development work that they have carried out. More and more young soccer players from the United States are crossing the pond at an early age to enroll in the best quarries in Europe.

On Saturday September 12, Konrad de la Fuente made history. At 19 years of age, he became the first American to play for Barcelona's first team. And that, to make matters worse, renewed until 2022 with a clause of 50 million (with the possibility of going up to 100 depending on objectives). One day later on September 13, Weston McKennie did the same with Juventus, a team that signed him this summer from Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga, and that will be at the helm of nothing more and nothing less than a football scholar like Andrea Pirlo.

However, to achieve this dream, before they have had to take a few meticulous steps to achieve that development that barely existed before. All this begins, of course, with the founding of Major League Soccer (MLS) itself, the professional soccer league in the United States, in 1993, although it did not start until 1996. Hence, and its exponential growth year by year, It is also necessary to add merit especially as a result of the investment of the franchises in their Academies through what are known as 'Homegrown-Player' contracts, one of the league rules that allows each team to sign contracts for its youth players for the first team.

Christian Pulisic, forerunner in the landing

Therefore, it is through them that the United States is exporting more talent than ever. Christian Pulisic, current Chelsea number 10 and former Borussia Dortmund, came to the German club with just 16 years after emerging in the now defunct Development Program of the 'US Soccer'. Already in the yellow quarry he took his steps of football maturity to finish debuting with the first team with 17.

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Christian Pulisic inherits and will wear No. 10 for Chelsea this season.

And it is precisely Germany is the country most selected by these young people to continue developing their careers in Europe. Much of the blame is, of course, the scouting work of these German clubs, putting more and more eyes on the United States. Without going further, Weston McKennie, debutant a few days ago with Juventus, came to the Old Continent from the FC Dallas Academy. The Texan, after working in the quarry of the franchise in his home state, rejected the contract with the first team to emigrate and sign with Schalke 04 when he had just reached the age of majority.

Just from that same quarry came Chris Richards, a 17-year-old center-back who has already made his debut with Bayern Munich. It is one of the most promising defenses in America. Also, shares dressing room with revelation Alphonso Davies, which, despite being Canadian, it should be noted that also emerged from the Vancouver Whitecaps quarry. Continuing with the Dallas affiliate and Academy, point out another transaction, that of Reggie Cannon, international right back who, in his case, signed for the Portuguese Boavista this same summer market.

Also in the Bundesliga, he landed a promising Tyler adams. The versatile 21-year-old footballer came through the Red Bull formula. That is to say, Raised and trained in the MLS's New York Red Bulls, he made the leap to older brother RB Leipzig. Coincidentally, fHe was the player who scored the goal of the 'Red Bulls' qualifying for the semifinals against Atlético de Madrid in the last edition of the Champions League. AND Josh sargent, the great hope in the offensive 'yankee'. 20-year-old forward who plays for Werder Bremen and that he followed in the footsteps of Pulisic in the Development Program to reach Germany.

Or, how to avoid one of the most famous names to reinforce the right flank of Barcelona's rear, such as Sergiño Dest. His case is particular, since he was born and raised in the Netherlands, but, despite this, he chose to represent the United States, since he has dual citizenship from his father. In addition, he has always been called up with the American lower categories. He was forged in Almere City until he signed for Ajax, a team in which he is – and maintains, for now – after his football explosion last year, becoming one of the best full-backs in Europe.

In this list there are also two sons of prestigious soccer players. On the one hand, Timothy Weah, descendant of the mythical George Weah, the only African to win the Ballon d'Or. Also forward (although he may fall on the wing), is in Lille after his initial irruption at PSG and adding a brief assignment at Celtic. And, on the other, Giovanni Reyna, scion of Claudio Reyna (ex Manchester City and Bayer Leverkusen, among others), Raised at the New York City Academy, he emigrated a year ago, at just 16, to Germany to sign for Borussia Dortmund, a team with which he has already played 19 games and scored two goals.

Other figures that must also be followed closely are those of Antonee robinson (Fulham); Sebastian Soto (Norwich City, loaned to SC Telstar); Uly Llanez (Wolfsburg, on loan to Heerenveen); Alex Mendez (Ajax); Richard Ledezma and Chris Gloster (PSV) … Most of them and those already mentioned above are part of America's most talented generation. In addition, a large part was present at the U-20 World Cup in Poland in 2019, in which they reached the quarter-finals. Brenda Aaronson and Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia), Paxton pomykal (Dallas), Gianluca Busio (Kansas City) or James sands (New York City), are other names that sooner rather than later can add to the experience of Europe.

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(BL-R) Chris Durkin, Konrad De La Fuente, Tim Weah, Aboubacar Keita, Chris Richards, goalkeeper Brady Scott, (FL-R) Paxton Pomykal, Alex Mendez, Sergiño Dest, Chris Gloster, Sebastian Soto during the FIFA U- 20 World Cup Poland 2019 group D match between USA U20 and Nigeria U20 at Bielsko-Biala Stadium on May 27, 2019 in Bielsko-Biala, Poland.

The investment in the Academies was one of the great impulses, since, until then, Much of the young talent used to be trusted to MLS SuperDraft, through the selection of players from the Universities competing in NCAA Soccer. From there have come figures such as Clint Dempsey, Taylor Twellman, Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra, Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley … Legends and important players in the United States national team. Or the most recent Cristian Roldán (Seattle), Miles Robinson (Atlanta), Mason Toye (Minnesota), etc. Even Englishman Jack Harrison, Leeds United's first scorer on his return to the Premier League.

Good news and a dose of hope with a view to the next World Cup in Qatar in 2022, but, above all, that of the United States itself together with Mexico and Canada that organize in 2026. All this after the great failure that meant that the national team of the stars and stripes was left out of the last World Cup in Russia in 2018, when they lost dramatically on the last day in their visit to Trinidad and Tobago. For this reason, this action-reaction driven by a large batch of young footballers, who are increasingly in the big clubs in Europe, is a reason to monitor and take into account in the face of the following events. Soccer is here, and it's here to stay.