Josh Sargent can expect many more first-team run-outs with Werder Bremen in the months ahead. - © imago/Jan Huebner
Josh Sargent can expect many more first-team run-outs with Werder Bremen in the months ahead. - © imago/Jan Huebner

Werder Bremen's USA striker Josh Sargent: "I knew I belonged in the first team"


USA international Josh Sargent has set his sights on regular first-team minutes with Werder Bremen after winning a sometimes "frustrating" battle to break into the side prior to the 2018 winter break.

Sargent officially joined Bremen upon turning 18 in February 2018, but had to bide his time with the U23s before being unleashed on the Bundesliga.

After netting seven goals in 12 appearances in Germany's fourth tier, the American made a goal-scoring debut as a second-half substitute in Bremen's 3-1 win over Fortuna Düsseldorf on 7 December.

He has since made a further four substitute appearances, scoring his second Bundesliga goal in a 3-2 defeat to RB Leipzig, and is now hoping to establish himself as a regular first-team player.

Watch: Josh Sargent began his Bundesliga adventure with a bang

'I want to establish myself in the first team'

"Obviously I wanted to be training with the first team straight away and permanently," Sargent told Werder's official club website. "I knew that I could give a good account of myself and that I belonged in the Bundesliga team. It was frustrating at times, but the coaching team told me the most important thing for me was match practice, in order to build rhythm and continue developing.

"I've worked hard for my minutes, and I'm happy with how it's gone. Now I want to establish myself in the first-team and be in the squad every match day – not in the starting XI, but in the squad, but I know that I have a long, hard journey ahead of me. I know the competition. I need to work even harder to achieve these goals."

Josh Sargent (l.) has two goals to show for his first 76 minutes of Bundesliga football. - AFP/Getty Images

'My teammates have all helped me'

Bundesliga veteran Martin Harnik is among the players Sargent is competing with for a starting berth in the Werder attack. And although the American "stole" his debut goal against Fortuna from his Austrian counterpart, he insists there were no hard feelings.

"I just had to make sure that the ball went in because there was a defender coming," Sargent recalled after heading Harnik's goal-bound effort over the line with his first touch. "Surprisingly not much was said about it in the dressing room. I expected more. They all understood and fortunately were all happy for me. My team-mates prepared me for my first appearance and have been a big help to me."

The Werder Bremen players have made life a lot easier for Josh Sargent on and off the pitch. - 2018 Getty Images

'It was a culture shock'

The fact the majority of the Werder dressing room can all speak at least a bit of English has also helped Sargent's transition from O'Fallon, Missouri to Bremen. He was just 17 when he made the move - alone and speaking next to no German - but has since been joined in his new home by his girlfriend, and is slowly picking up the native language.

"It was hard at the start," Sargent admitted. "It was a huge culture shock. I didn't know anyone here and the language was a big challenge, even though most people speak English, which was really helpful. Not knowing about anything was the hardest. In the first week I had absolutely no idea about anything.  Then I tried to go out more into the city and to meet as many people as I could to hang out. That helped a lot. I learnt a lot about the city and the people here."

Six-time USA international Sargent, who turns 19 in February, could make his first Bundesliga start when Bremen travel to rock-bottom Nuremberg on Saturday.