Brenden Aaronson joins Union Berlin on loan from Leeds United


Union Berlin have signed USA international midfielder Brenden Aaronson on a season-long loan from Leeds United.

Aaronson, 22, arrives in Berlin as Union gear up for a first-ever UEFA Champions League campaign following Die Eisernen’s historic fourth-place finish in 2022/23. The attacking midfielder still has four years to run on his contract at Leeds, who were relegated from the English Premier League last season, following his summer 2022 move from Red Bull Salzburg.

"Union's path and the success of the last few years did not go unnoticed in either the USA, Austria or England,” said Aaronson on the Union website. “Somehow, you always heard something about them. A year ago, I wouldn't have believed that I would be here and able to play in the Champions League with Union. I'm looking forward to the year ahead with joy and confidence and want to help us have another successful season." 

The 29-time USMNT international came through at Major League Soccer side Philadelphia Union before Salzburg brought the man nicknamed the ‘Medford Messi’ – on account of his birthplace in New Jersey and his playing style – in January 2021. He enjoyed a prolific spell in Austria, with 13 goals and 15 assists in 66 games as he twice won the league and cup double, first under Jesse Marsch – the former RB Leipzig coach who later brought him to Leeds – and then under Matthias Jaissle.

Aaronson made 40 competitive appearances last season as Leeds dropped into the EFL Championship, scoring once in a notable 3-0 win at home to Chelsea. He arrives at the Stadion an der Alten Försterei having just won the CONCACAF Nations League for the second time with the US.

"Brenden's commitment has made us very happy, he is a type of player we don't have who will be good for our attacking game. Despite his young age, he already has a lot of international experience and will complement our squad at a high level," said Oliver Ruhnert, Union's managing director of men’s professional football, on the loan deal. 

Aaronson (l.) will have heard a lot about the Bundesliga from his brother Paxten and his American teammates at Leeds, Weston McKennie (c., formerly of Schalke) and Tyler Adams (r., formerly of RB Leipzig). - Stu Forster/Getty Images

He also joins his brother in Germany, with 19-year-old Paxten preparing for his first full season at Eintracht Frankfurt following his January arrival. The younger Aaronson made seven Bundesliga appearances at the back end of last term for the DFB Cup finalists. They will become the first US-born brothers to play in Germany’s top division.

Union kick off their 2023/24 Bundesliga campaign at home to Mainz on 19/20 August, having taken on Astoria Walldorf in the DFB Cup first round on 13 August. Die Eisernen will discover their first-ever Champions League opponents when the group-stage draw is made on 31 August.