USA defender Joe Scally is making waves at Borussia Mönchengladbach. - © Imago
USA defender Joe Scally is making waves at Borussia Mönchengladbach. - © Imago

Joe Scally: Who is Borussia Mönchengladbach's US teenager?


At 19, Borussia Mönchengladbach defender Joe Scally is the youngest player in the USA's 2022 World Cup squad. profiles the young New Yorker...

Joe Scally

Age: 19
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
Position: Right-back/left-back
Country: USA (three caps)

Key stats

Born in Lake Grove, New York on 31 December 2002, he joined the NYCFC academy at U13 level in 2015 and helped the club to the 2018 Academy Championship. He did so while playing with and against players up to three years his senior - including Borussia Dortmund and US compatriot Gio Reyna.

In March 2018, Scally became just the second player to graduate from the NYCFC Academy when he signed a Homegrown Player contract. His professional debut followed in June as a substitute in the US Open Cup derby against New York Red Bulls.

Scally moved to Gladbach after turning 18 and spent the second half of the 2020/21 season with the reserve side. Having acclimatised to life in Germany, he was given a chance to prove himself at left-back, owing to an injury to Ramy Bensebaini. He grabbed it with both hands, making his first senior start for the Foals in the DFB Cup against Kaiserslautern before Adi Hütter handed him his Bundesliga debut against Bayern Munich on the opening weekend of 2021/22.

Watch: Joe Scally - Gladbach's fast-rising Foal

Scally shone in that game and went on to make 30 league appearances in 2021/22 - including 20 starts. Operating more as a right-back or wing-back since his debut, the highlights - apart from his league bow - came in October 2021. That was the month Scally got his first Bundesliga goal in a 3-1 win over Wolfsburg and started in a stunning 5-0 DFB Cup success against Bayern. 

Another early high point of his career came in June 2022, when the Gladbach No. 29 made his senior USA debut against Morocco. The 6'0" defender, who played for the USA's U17s and 15s and has started every game for Gladbach in 2022/23, will have the chance to add to his four senior caps at the 2022 World Cup.

Watch: Scally - chasing Europe with Gladbach

Plays a bit like: Trent Alexander-Arnold

Scally himself says Dani Alves is his favourite player, and there are perhaps a number of similarities. However, the American has a bit more in common with his English counterpart. Scally describes his on-field attributes as being strong, fast and technical, meaning he provides the attacking impetus of his idol as well as Alexander-Arnold. Like Scally, the Liverpool full-back - a 2019 Ballon d'Or nominee - the product of his local youth academy.

Did you know?

Scally's still early career has been glittered with links to star names in the world of football. When he signed his Homegrown Player contract he became the youngest in MLS history to do so after Freddy Adu. His professional debut against the Red Bulls was as a second-half substitute for World Cup winner David Villa. While he is the first graduate of the NYCFC academy to join a European club, he does follow in similar footsteps to those of long-time friend and colleague Reyna, who moved to Dortmund's academy from New York.

What they're saying

"When we see him going against [Leroy] Sane or Alphonso Davies on the side and he's being tested, he's standing up to these tests." - USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter

"Not only was he just a talented player in our region, but Joe was one of the most talented right-backs in his age group in the world." – NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna

"He's really gone from 0 to 100. I have never seen a young player that goes into challenges as hard as he does, while not being nasty. He's very aggressive, athletic and in great shape." – former Gladbach academy director Roland Virkus