USA U17 defender Joe Scally is making waves at Borussia Mönchengladbach. - © DFL/Getty Images/Lukas Schulze
USA U17 defender Joe Scally is making waves at Borussia Mönchengladbach. - © DFL/Getty Images/Lukas Schulze

Joe Scally: Who is Borussia Mönchengladbach’s American teenager?


Still just 18, American defender Joe Scally impressed new Borussia Mönchengladbach head coach Adi Hütter in pre-season and has made the left-back position his own in 2021/22. shines a light on the USA U17 international full-back…

Joe Scally

Age: 18
Club: Gladbach
Position: Right-back/left-back
Country: USA (19 U17 caps)

Key stats

Standing at 6’0’’, Scally is an imposing figure for a full-back and uses his physique to his advantage. Both strong and quick, he’s able to get up and down the flank at will, having the pace to recover his position and chase down attackers when needed. 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 while playing with and against players up to three years his senior, including Borussia Dortmund compatriot Gio Reyna.

Watch: Scally targets success after Bundesliga debut

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 match in the derby against New York Red Bulls. With the national team, he featured in every game at the CONCACAF U15 Boys’ Championship where the USA finished as runners-up.

He also scored in the final as the BNT beat England in the final of the 2017 Torneo delle Nazioni, as well as playing five games at the 2019 CONCACAF U17 Championship that saw Raphael Wicky’s side qualify for the FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil, where Scally played all three games.

After turning 18 on 31 December 2020, he moved to Gladbach and spent the second half of the 2020/21 season with the reserve side. Having acclimatised to life in Germany, Scally 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 Hütter handed him his Bundesliga debut on Matchday 1 of the new campaign - against none other than Bayern Munich.

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 at Liverpool. Scally describes his on-field attributes as being strong, fast and technical, meaning he provides the attacking impetus of his idol but at the same time proving himself as cool as Long Island iced tea in defence along the lines of Alexander-Arnold, a 2019 Ballon d’Or nominee who, like Scally, is the product of his local youth academy.

Scally has already tested his mettle against the likes of Bayern Munich atacker Thomas Müller in the Bundesliga. - Alexander Scheuber/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

Did you know?

Scally’s still brief 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

“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

“Joe Scally is a top American talent who we’ve known about for some time. We see great potential in Joe and are pleased he’ll be joining us in January 2021. Before then we’ll work together with New York City FC to prepare him for the move to Germany.” – Borussia Mönchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl

“It was definitely always a dream of mine to play in Europe. That’s why I was so excited to join Borussia, but it wasn’t easy for at first when I arrived in January. I was a long way away from my home, my family and my friends. But I received a very warm welcome here, so I quickly grew to feel comfortable and at home.” – Joe Scally