George Bello: Who is Arminia Bielefeld’s new USA international?
He looks up to former Bayern Munich defender David Alaba and has played alongside Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna at international level since the U15s, but what else is there to know about Arminia Bielefeld’s new American recruit, George Bello?
Allow bundesliga.com to fill in the gaps...
Club: Arminia Bielefeld
Country: USA (six caps)
Born in Nigeria in January 2002, Bello moved to the US with his family when he was just one year old. He grew up in Douglasville, a town roughly 20 miles west of Atlanta, and started out playing for Chelsea’s development side, the Southern Soccer Academy, before being scouted by the Alpharetta Ambush U12 team – despite being just nine at the time.
He spent five years at the club until the newly formed Atlanta United academy came calling in 2016. A series of impressive displays for his new team – including helping them win the US Soccer Development Academy U16 Championship – earned him a homegrown professional contract at the age of just 15, yes, 15, in June 2017.
The 5’6” left-footer spent the 2017/18 season with the Atlanta reserve side, often playing against seasoned players twice his age, while also training with the first team under former Barcelona and Argentina coach Tata Martino.
Bello made his MLS debut in September 2018 – in a 3-1 defeat by a DC United side featuring a certain Wayne Rooney – the first of 50 top-flight appearances all told, chipping in with three goals and four assists.
A USA youth international since his early teens, he has played alongside Reyna since the U15s. Bello received his first senior USMNT cap in January 2021 against Trinidad and Tobago and was part of the squad that won the 2021 Gold Cup, while he has also featured in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying.
Plays a bit like: (a young) David Alaba
Bello grew up watching videos of former Bayern defender David Alaba during his time at the Allianz Arena, and cites the Austrian as one of his role models. And some of Alaba’s influence – particularly from his earlier years as a marauding left-back - has clearly rubbed off on him.
Robust in the tackle, excellent positioning and a good eye for a pass, Bello is as comfortable defending as he is getting forward to help out his teammates in the final third, where his pace, ease in possession and ability to provide pinpoint crosses are reliable weapons.
Did you know?
Bello’s talent has been a not-so-guarded secret in world football for a number of years. In 2016, at the age of 14, he had trials with Everton and Genoa, while in 2019 he also featured at the FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil for USA, appearing in a team alongside Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Joe Scally (Gladbach) and Ricardo Pepi (Augsburg).
What they’re saying
"My transfer to Arminia is a dream come true for me, because I've always wanted to play football in Europe. I'm happy and grateful that Arminia are giving me this opportunity. I can develop as a player and as a person here. I can hardly wait to get started and I'm looking forward to playing in the Bundesliga." - Bello
"Despite his young age, we've been following George's development for a long time now and are very happy that we had the opportunity to sign him. George is a young, quick player with a huge amount of potential and we're really looking forward to having him here." - Bielefeld managing director Samir Arabi
“We believe George is a massive part of the future.” – USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter
“George is one of those players who has the ‘X factor’. He has the right attitude, he's humble, he's grounded, he's technical, he's athletic.” – Atlanta United academy director Tony Annan
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