RB Leipzig's Tyler Adams (l.) and Gio Reyna of Borussia Dortmund are USMNT teammates. - © Hector Acevedo via www.imago-ima/imago images/ZUMA Wire
RB Leipzig's Tyler Adams (l.) and Gio Reyna of Borussia Dortmund are USMNT teammates. - © Hector Acevedo via www.imago-ima/imago images/ZUMA Wire

American soccer players in the Bundesliga: FAQs


Some of the USA’s biggest soccer stars either have played or currently play in the Bundesliga - but what are the exact numbers, who was the first and what’s behind the German-American link? bundesliga.com answers all the pertinent, star-spangled questions…

How many Americans are currently playing in the Bundesliga ?

Let's answer this in terms of those playing regularly and those up and coming players who are used more sparingly.

10 - Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Brenden Aaronson (Union Berlin), Paxten Aaronson, Timothy Chandler (both Eintracht Frankfurt), Joe Scally, Jordan (both Borussia Mönchengladbach), Lennard Maloney (Heidenheim), John Brooks (Hoffenheim), Kevin Paredes and Ulysses Llanez (both Wolfsburg).

There are a further five in the second division - Julian Green, Maximilian Dietz (both Greuther Fürth), Terrence Boyd (Kaiserslautern), Johan Gómez (Eintracht Braunschweig) and Nico Carrera (Holstein Kiel)

There are another roughly 150 US-eligible players currently plying their trade outside Germany's top two divisions, including Ryan Malone at Ingolstadt, Andrew Wooten at Preußen Münster, Isaiah Young at Rot-Weiss Essen and many more.

Watch: The Bundesliga's best Americans

Which US internationals play in the Bundesliga?

Every current US-eligible player in the Bundesliga has earned at least one cap for the USMNT except Maloney, but he has been called up to the senior national team for the first time for October's friendly against Germany.

Who was the first American to play in the Bundesliga?

Chances are you know the answer to this one.

That honour goes to the late Andy Mate, the Hungary-born USA international who scored two goals in six appearances for Hamburg back in 1964/65.

'Mate', incidentally, is former Borussia Dortmund schemer Christian Pulisic's middle name - but you’ll have to ask his parents about that one.

The top 10 Americans to play in the Bundesliga

Tom Dooley earned a good few slices of history during his stint in the Bundesliga. - imago sportfotodienst

How many Americans have ever played in the Bundesliga?

The total stands at 70 and counting as of the 2023/24 season…

Who is the US Player with the most appearances in the Bundesliga?

Steven Cherundolo. The retired defender made a club record Bundesliga 302 appearances during a celebrated 15-year association as a player with Hannover. No American has graced the German top flight more often. Chandler and Brooks are the only currently active players in the top five.

Who is the US Player with most goals in the Bundesliga?

Tom Dooley. The Germany-born defender scored 20 goals in 199 Bundesliga appearances for HamburgKaiserslauternBayer Leverkusen and Schalke between 1986 and 1997. Johnson has 18, while Pulisic struck 13 times in his 90 Bundesliga outings.

Has an American ever won the Bundesliga?

Yes. After Mate, who passed away on 13 May 2012 at the age of 71, not a single American played in the Bundesliga until Dooley helped Hamburg work their way up from the third tier to Germany's top table by the end of 1985/86.

The 81-time USMNT international went on to enjoy great success at his next station in Kaiserslautern, where he won the DFB Cup in 1990 and the club's first Bundesliga title the following year.

He later lifted the 1997 UEFA Cup with Schalke.

His parents changed his middle name from 'Dennis' to 'Decorated'.

Jürgen Klinsmann's scouting approach changed the face of US soccer. - 2014 Getty Images

Why do so many Americans play in the Bundesliga?

With top-flight clubs boasting some of the world's top academies, renowned for helping their players develop both on and off the pitch, the Bundesliga is THE place for young players to develop, no matter where they grew up.

A quirk of administration also means it’s easier for Americans to obtain a work permit in Germany than, say, in the UK, where non-British players are required to have featured in a certain percentage of their country's recent competitive matches to obtain an endorsement from the English FA.

What’s more, Germany embraces a high-octane attacking game, perfectly suited to the full-blooded American approach.

"It [isn't] easy to adapt, but the Bundesliga is well known for giving young players a chance," Leipzig's Adams said of his move to Germany.

Why do Germany and the USA have such a strong soccer link?

If there is one important name related to that question, it would have to be former USMNT coach and FIFA World Cup winner, Jürgen Klinsmann.

The likes of Brooks, and former Gladbach man Fabian Johnson, among others, might never have turned out for the USA had Klinsmann not trawled his native Germany for Deutschamerikaners (German-American dual nationals) after taking the job as head coach with the USMNT in 2011.

Brooks and Johnson were born in Germany to American fathers stationed in the country on military duty - a legacy of post-World War II, Allied-occupied Germany.

Watch: Gio Reyna, living the dream ...

How did Gio Reyna make it to the Bundesliga, and how can I?

As we all know by now, Gio Reyna is the son of former Leverkusen and Wolfsburg star, Claudio, not that the talented Dortmund attacker rose to prominence on his dad's name. Gio joined the New York City FC youth academy and successfully made his way through the ranks until he arrived at the club's U19s.

He subsequently signed for BVB in 2019 at the age of just 16. He was able to join the Black-and-Yellows as a teenager having secured a Portuguese passport through Claudio's mother, Maria. A stint in the U19s preceded his promotion to senior-team duties, with Reyna junior making his Dortmund debut in the 2019/20 campaign.

Obviously YOU don’t need a Portuguese passport to make it to the Bundesliga, but a bit of talent will go a long way. Work hard, learn some German and seize the day. You never know, you might be on the receiving end of an invite for a trial at one of the Bundesliga’s youth-centric clubs…

Watch: Every Reyna goal and assist in the Bundesliga

Where can I watch the Bundesliga in the USA?