If you’re 6’1” and can train with your senior national team at the age of 16 then clearly you’re no ordinary player - and Wolfsburg clearly seem to think so too, having signed USA teen Bryang Kayo ahead of the 2020/21 season.
bundesliga.com has all you need to know about the midfielder…
Position: Central midfielder
Country: USA (9 caps for U17s)
Bryang William Kayo was born in Poolesville, Maryland to Cameroonian parents and started playing football at the age of seven. He joined the DC United development academy in 2017, playing in the U16/17s as a 13-year-old.
His coaches were so impressed with his composure and skill on the ball that they pushed him up to Loudoun United, the club’s affiliate side in the United Soccer League (USL), the second-highest division in the US after the MLS. Kayo made his professional debut in the USL on 13 April 2019 at the age of 16, the first of three appearances in which he registered one assist, all while completing 89.6 per cent of his passes (90 per cent of which were all in the opposition half). The fact he also won over 57 per cent of all his duels is testament to his defensive quality, too.
He signed his first pro contract when joining fellow USL side Orange Country SC in September 2019, although he didn’t make a competitive outing for the team. By then he had already featured for the USA U17s, however, and was part of the squad at the FIFA U17 World Cup Brazil 2019 alongside soon-to-be Wolfsburg colleague Kobe Hernandez-Foster and Borussia Dortmund starlet Gio Reyna.
Well used to playing several age categories above his own, Kayo has been earmarked for the Wolfsburg reserves, skipping the U17 and U19 sides as he is fast-tracked towards a first-team breakthrough.
Plays a bit like: Paul Pogba
Kayo lists Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba as his favourite player and evidently models his game on the French World Cup winner, too. While both are tall, box-to-box midfielders it is more their skill on the ball, quick feet and ability to leave opponents flailing in their wake as they drive forward that gives credence to the comparisons.
Did you know?
Kayo was the first player born in 2002 to be called up to the senior USMNT roster. He first trained with Gregg Berhalter’s squad in May 2019, having been called over from the U23s who was practicing nearby.
He evidently made an impression on the big boss, who named the midfielder in his senior roster for the January 2020 camp (alongside new Wolfsburg teammate Ulysses Llanez), although he didn’t feature in the subsequent friendly win over Costa Rica.
What they’re saying
"Bryang is a technically gifted player that I’m very excited to be working with. He has already shown at the youth international level that he can compete with the most talented players in his age group.” - Orange County head coach Braeden Cloutier