Since the rise of American superstar Christian Pulisic, Americans have gained significant interest in European football, posting its best viewership figures in 2018/19 in over a decade. The move to European clubs should come as no surprise to American fans, as MLS doesn’t provide nearly enough competition for Pulisic, Giovanni Reyna, Weston McKennie, Sergiño Dest, and other top American players.
However, one league in particular has a significantly larger number of Americans than any other top-flight league in Europe – the German Bundesliga. So, what’s so special about Germany?
The main reason for these players is simple: they want to emulate their heroes.
When 17-year-old Christian Pulisic rose to centerstage in the American world with his first goal for Borussia Dortmund in 2016, he changed the benchmark for younger Americans who dreamed of playing in the pros. Today, the league has more USMNT internationals than any other. RB Leipzig’s CM’s Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie, who moved from Schalke to Juventus this summer, Josh Sargent of Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich’s Chris Richards, Wolfsburg’s John Brooks, and of course Pulisic, the most expensive American soccer player ever after his move to Chelsea ($75 million).
However, there were other factors that contributed to the move.
Bundesliga boasts another astounding fact – the average age of its starting XI’s was just over 26, the lowest in any of Europe’s top five leagues. This youth allows clubs to give more opportunities on the pitch than in other scenarios, and even if they make mistakes, they are given their minutes.
Since the clubs are used to dealing with younger players, they often are very accommodating with Americans making the move. When Pulisic moved to Borussia Dortmund, he was just 15. The club therefore, paid for his father to come with him, and even gave him a job in the youth programs of the club. Tyler Adams, though older when he made the move to Europe, stated he received similar treatment from Leipzig. This understanding quality from the clubs makes them ideal destinations for Americans to look towards when moving to play top-flight European football.
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