George Bello couldn’t wipe the smile from his face after being given a rapturous welcome to Arminia Bielefeld and making his “dream” Bundesliga debut.
Bello, a 20-year-old deadline day signing from Atlanta United, was brought on for the final 20 minutes of Bielefeld’s 1-1 draw at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach, replacing Nathan de Medina at left-back.
“I felt great. Words can’t describe it right now. It’s a dream come true for me to make my debut,” the six-time US international told bundesliga.com. “I hope this is the start of great things that will happen. I’m happy with it and hopefully we can get a win next time.”
The second American in Arminia’s history was also given a rousing reception as he entered the field by the limited 10,000 in attendance at the SchücoArena, stirring on their new man.
“It was a special moment. It got me even more ready to go in. It got me even more excited about it,” Bello continued after the game. “These fans, you can tell that they are a special kind and I’m ready to spend more special moments with them.”
Bello described himself as “very attacking” while also acknowledging that his primary role as a left-back is to keep things tight. He was certainly solid in his maiden 20 minutes as Bielefeld had to stand firm against a late Borussia push for a winner.
The 20-year-old won two out of his three challenges and earned a foul. Five of his six passes found a teammate from eight spells of possession. He also registered a top speed of 19.4 mph over his eight sprints that covered 0.14 of the overall 1.7 miles he moved on the field.
When asked of his decision to make the move to Bielefeld and the Bundesliga, Bello said: “I just felt it was the right fit for me in my career at the moment. Everyone welcomed me. I felt welcomed here as soon as I got here. I spoke to coach Frank [Kramer] before I came and he’s a great guy.
“It seemed like he really cared for me. I just felt like this would be a great home for me, and so far it feels like home already, so I’m happy about it.”
Bello has joined Bielefeld on a deal until 2026 at a time the team looks on the up. They are unbeaten in six games to move four points clear of the automatic relegation zone.
Watch: Bello is among the latest generation of Americans coming to the Bundesliga
Nobody has been able to nail down the left-back spot at Arminia this season, giving the new man an ideal chance of making it his own.
Coach Kramer also appears eager to have Bello settle: “He is a very open guy. He is willing to work. He wants to learn. He is a good guy, a good character. He is fast and he has good technical skills, so all in all it is a good package.
“He can help us and we have to work with him so that he can improve and get into the team and the ideas we have as quickly as possible.”
Bielefeld are next in action on the Sunday of Matchday 22 when they travel to Hoffenheim. It gives Bello a further week to find his feet in Germany and with his new squad ahead of a potential full debut.
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