Union Berlin's Julian Ryerson represented Norway at youth level, but is eligible to play for the USMNT. - © DFL
Union Berlin's Julian Ryerson represented Norway at youth level, but is eligible to play for the USMNT. - © DFL

Julian Ryerson: Who is Union Berlin's NextGen star?

US Soccer is no stranger to scouring the Bundesliga landscape for talent - could Union Berlin defender Julian Ryerson be the next Europe-born youngster to pledge his allegiance to the Stars and Stripes? bundesliga.com runs the rule over his credentials…

Julian Ryerson

Age: 22
Club: Union Berlin
Position: Right-back/ right midfielder
Country: Norway (13 U21 caps, one goal)/ USA (uncapped)

Born in Lyngdal, Norway, Ryerson is a product of the Viking Stavanger academy. He made his senior debut in 2015, and went on to have a hand in 10 goals in 68 first-team appearances in domestic competition, before moving to Union on a three-year deal in summer 2018.

The 6'0" right-sided specialist turned out eight times as the Berlin club secured an historic promotion to the Bundesliga at the end of his first season in the German capital, but remains on the fringes of the first team, with captain Christopher Trimmel ahead of the 13-time Norway U21 international in the current pecking order.

Ryerson (r.) has made 10 Bundesliga appearances in 2019/20. - imago

Plays a bit like: Timothy Chandler

Ryerson is a right-back by trade, but has - like Frankfurt-reared US international Timothy Chandler - been known to do a job on the right-hand side of midfield as his double-digit return in Viking colours and assist for Sebastian Andersson in Union's Matchday 12 win over then leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach attest.

Did you know?

If you’re wondering why the Ryerson name sounds more Uncle Sam than Ragnar Lodbrok, it’s because it is. Julian’s father was born in the USA, meaning the Union youngster - despite representing Norway at U18, 19 and 21 level alongside Borussia Dortmund phenom Erling Haaland - could yet turn out for the USMNT.

What they’re saying

"Julian is a highly talented young player, who can be used in various defensive positions." - Union sporting director Oliver Ruhnert

Keep an eye on…

Lennard Maloney is another Union youngster with American roots on the paternal side. The self-styled "Germarican" defender holds dual German-American citizenship, and recently switched allegiance from the Germany U19s to the US U20s. Patiently awaiting his pro breakthrough, the 20-year-old Berlin native is currently on loan at Chemnitzer of the Third Division.

Nigerian winger Suleiman Abdullahi, 23, has made the step up, earning four Bundesliga appearances during an injury-hit campaign, while teenaged trio Fisnick Asllani, Tim Maciejewski and Ensar Arksakal have been starring for the U19s, rattling off over 30 goals between them.