Borussia Mönchengladbach's American defender Joe Scally has spoken of the encouragement he's received from compatriot and friend Gio Reyna for his move to the Bundesliga.
Scally, 18, landed in Germany at the start of 2021 from New York City FC - over a year after his transfer to Gladbach had been announced. The delay allowed the right-back time to gain first-team experience in Major League Soccer. "That really helped me," he said at Borussia's pre-season training camp. "It was good preparation for the Bundesliga in terms of physicality, speed and play, even if the level here is a lot higher."
The Lake Grove, New York native has been at his new home for seven months now and settling into life with Gladbach's reserves - playing 15 times in the fourth-tier Regionalliga West in 2020/21 - but he's now targeting a place in the Foals' first team.
"Of course, I want to play as many games as possible and be able to help the team," said Scally, who also explained that he's been warned by Reyna of what to expect of the step-up.
"Gio told me that the Bundesliga is a difficult league, but he also told me I shouldn't have any problems with it. It made me really happy to hear that. It helps me," he said of his friend and companion in the NYCFC academy and USA youth teams, but now league rival at Borussia Dortmund.
Born only a month apart and therefore playing together in the same age groups, Reyna is certainly an ideal role model for Scally. The son of former Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg midfielder Claudio Reyna, the now eight-time USMNT international made his transatlantic move to BVB in 2019 and quickly made the leap up to the senior team, becoming the youngest American to ever appear in the Bundesliga at 17 years and 66 days.
Watch: Reyna and the Bundesliga’s golden US generation
The 18-year-old has so far made 64 appearances for Dortmund and now also claimed his first piece of silverware in black and yellow with last season's DFB Cup. That is something Scally is aiming to emulate, stating that his big goal for the future is "to win a title".
That quest for honours with Gladbach begins under new coach Adi Hütter when the Foals take on Kaiserslautern in the first round of the cup on Monday, 9 August. The five-time German champions then kick off the new Bundesliga season with the official opening game against holders Bayern Munich at Borussia-Park on Friday, 13 August.
Will Kane and Bayern close the gap on Leverkusen?
Bayern are in Freiburg for the Matchday 24 opener, hoping for another win to keep up the pressure on leaders Leverkusen.
BVB open office in the USA
Borussia Dortmund opened their permanent representation in New York City with an event at One World Trade Centre on Thursday.
Matchday 24 probable teams
Will Dayot Upamecano, Eric Dier or both start in defence for Bayern Munich against Freiburg with Matthijs de Ligt suspended?