Justin Che, the 17-year-old American defender currently on loan at Bayern Munich from partner club FC Dallas, believes his spell at the reigning Bundesliga champions “might open some doors with the German national team”.
Che was one of a handful of young players from Dallas to have a three-week trial training period in Munich in January, and the Bayern coaches were suitably impressed with the centre-back to hand him a contract until the end of June 2021.
Although still not legally an adult, Che was able to make the transfer as he is a dual American-German citizen through his mother, who was raised in Germany and has a German father.
While Che himself grew up in Texas and has one cap for the USA U16 side, he speaks German and would welcome the chance to represent Die Mannschaft.
“I'm thinking with me establishing some time here in Germany with Bayern, that might open some doors with the German national team,” the teenager told American Soccer Now.
“They'll most likely keep an eye on me. I'm not really set on one national team specifically. I'm not really set on playing for just the US or playing just for Germany. I kind of want to keep my door always open until I got to make the decision at the time.”
Che has been earmarked for Bayern’s U19 side initially, although he will also be given a chance in the reserve team, but he has not yet featured in a competitive match as youth fixtures remain postponed in Germany.
Watch: Bayern's Dallas connection
That has not tempered his enthusiasm in striving to make the most of the opportunity he has been given, though. “Getting the loan was exciting,” he said. “I was excited. I’m really looking forward to learning from some of the top coaches.
“I thought I played well [in training]. I showcased what I can do, my composure on the ball.”
Chris Richards followed a similar path just two years ago. Also a centre-back, the fellow Dallas academy graduate impressed on trial in training and in a subsequent loan spell in Munich before his move was made permanent.
Now a full USA international, Richards is on loan at Hoffenheim until the end of the season, starting three Bundesliga games so far for Sebastian Hoeneß’s side.
Che would undoubtedly have nothing against a similar career trajectory, but is not looking too far ahead at the moment.
“We'll see what the future holds” he said. “I don't think it's my decision. It is more of Dallas's decision and Bayern's decision. If I go back or if I stay here, I'll continue working hard to find a path that leads to a bright future and playing at the highest level.”