Arminia Bielefeld's US international left-back George Bello could make his Bundesliga debut on Matchday 21. - © imago
Arminia Bielefeld's US international left-back George Bello could make his Bundesliga debut on Matchday 21. - © imago

"Word is getting round that Germany is the place to be for American soccer players" - Arminia Bielefeld's George Bello


Having watched US soccer players such as Gio Reyna and Ricardo Pepi earn their Stars and Stripes on German soil, George Bello says he didn't have to think twice about joining Bundesliga club Arminia Bielefeld from Atlanta United.

Bello, 20, recently signed a four-and-a-half year contract with Arminia and could become the latest in a growing line of young Americans to debut in the Bundesliga when his new employers host Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday.

"It's quite the trend. Word is getting around that many Americans are developing well here in Germany," Bello told German sports specialist magazine, kicker, of his transatlantic switch.

"There's a lot of competition in the league and within the teams, so you can really improve here. Of course, I want to get better here, in one of the strongest leagues in the world. It's always been my dream to play in Europe, and I'm here to make my dream come true."

In the last few weeks alone, Bello's USA teammate Pepi has been busy fulfilling a long-held wish of his own. The Augsburg striker - who enjoyed a trial spell at Bayern Munich - has made three Bundesliga appearances since leaving FC Dallas. Unsurprisingly, he's one of a handful of players that Arminia's new left-back can't wait to test himself against.

Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry, and Marco Reus were among the household names Bello reeled off on the subject. "And my compatriots, of course. [Chris] Richards, Pepi, [Gio] Reyna. That will be cool," he added, ahead of a possible head-to-head with Gladbach's American teen, Joe Scally, on Bundesliga Matchday 21.

Watch: NextGen USA in the Bundesliga

Not that Bello expects to waltz into the Bielefeld starting line-up. The six-time US international admits he still has a lot to learn, despite the experience gained from his 50 appearances in Major League Soccer with Atlanta.

"It's a much higher speed together with a much higher quality of players," observed Bello of the difference between US soccer and his first week of training under Arminia head coach Frank Kramer. "They just think and play much faster here, but I feel good and I'm fit to start. If the coach wants me or needs me, I'll be there."