Wolfsburg’s Kevin Paredes: “I’m living my dream”
Wolfsburg’s American teenager Kevin Paredes says he is “living my dream” in the Bundesliga as he prepares for his first full season in Germany’s top flight.
Paredes arrived in Wolfsburg in January after coming through the ranks at DC United and making his debut in the MLS at the age of 17.
The pacy left midfielder was included in a Bundesliga matchday squad for the first time just a week after crossing the Atlantic, as Wolfsburg beat Greuther Fürth 4-1 on Matchday 21, but it wasn’t until Matchday 29 in April that the Virginia native was given his Bundesliga bow as an 86th-minute substitute in a 4-0 triumph over Arminia Bielefeld.
He featured again a few days later, playing the final 10 minutes of the Wolves’ 5-0 victory over Mainz, and is currently gearing up for the 2022/23 campaign under new head coach Niko Kovac.
The former Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayern Munich tactician started Paredes in Wolfsburg’s first summer friendly, pairing him with Max Kruse in attacking midfield against a regional XI. The American repaid that faith with the team’s second goal in a 9-1 triumph
“I’m living my dream,” Paredes told German daily Bild. “Who wouldn’t want to play in the Bundesliga, one of the best leagues in the world and at such a professional club?”
Part of becoming a top-level professional has included Paredes growing up fast in a foreign country, living on his own in an apartment: “Living by myself for the first time was a challenge for me. The first time without my family, the first time doing everything 100 percent myself: shopping, cooking, cleaning. It was difficult.”
Watch: Paredes among the USA's next generation in the Bundesliga
Nevertheless, he had plenty of support from teammate and compatriot John Brooks, who has since left the Wolves. “Jay was like a brother for me,” Paredes said. “He took me with him everywhere and helped me with things away from the pitch.”
Yet it is out on the field that the two-time USA U20 international wants to have the biggest impact. “I always want to play and help the team,” he said. “I’ll work hard.”
Should he succeed in forcing himself into Kovac’s first-team plans on a regular basis, perhaps he could even be on the plane to Qatar with the US men’s national team in November: “I’m in contact with coach Gregg Berhalter. Playing for the national team is obviously a dream of mine.”
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