Emil Forsberg (l.) will be reunited with his former team-mates when RB Leipzig visit the USA over the summer. - © IMAGO/RHR-FOTO
Emil Forsberg (l.) will be reunited with his former team-mates when RB Leipzig visit the USA over the summer. - © IMAGO/RHR-FOTO

RB Leipzig's first US pre-season tour sets up Forsberg reunion


RB Leipzig legend Emil Forsberg says he is looking forward to a "special reunion" with his former club after the Bundesliga side announced their first pre-season tour of the United States during which they will face English Premier League side Aston Villa in preparation for the 2024/25 campaign.

Forsberg made 325 competitive appearances for Leipzig, helping establish the club as a Bundesliga force before leaving to join MLS franchise New York Red Bulls in January, 2024.

“All of us at RBNY – and myself in particular – are really excited that RB Leipzig is coming to New York for its first US tour. It will be a special reunion with players, coaches and staff for me that I wasn’t expecting so soon," said Forsberg, who won the DFB Cup twice and finished Bundesliga runner-up twice during his eight years at the club.

"Not only are the conditions at our training complex great, but New York is also the perfect city for RB Leipzig and the Bundesliga to become better known in the USA. I’m sure that we’ll have a great time together." 

Leipzig, whose announcement comes hot on the heels of Eintracht Frankfurt giving notice of their plans for a USA pre-season tour next summer, will set up base camp at the New York Red Bulls Academy in Whippany, New Jersey. In addition to Forsberg, will see other familiar faces in Red Bulls head coach, former Mainz boss Sandro Schwarz, and Jochen Schneider, Head of Sports at the MLS club and previously part of the Leipzig management team from 2015 to 2019.

They will play Villa on 31 July at 8pm local time in the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, and are planning a second friendly on the US's East Coast before the end of the tour.

Watch: Forsberg's best Bundesliga goals

“Our coaching staff and players can look forward to an incredibly professional training camp with two friendlies against ambitious opponents. With the 2026 World Cup on the horizon, the USA is one of the most exciting sports markets in the world, and its love for soccer continues to grow," said Rouven Schröder, Leipzig's sporting director.

"This trip to the US will create some great memories for our team and we’re looking forward to meeting our colleagues at New York Red Bulls and the MLS.”

Watch: RB Leipzig's rapid rise from the fifth tier to the Bundesliga

The club, which only played its first Bundesliga season in 2016/17, has since become one of the German top flight's most popular sides in the US, featuring among the top three in terms of TV ratings in the country. Ten per cent of the club's near-seven million followers across social media are from the USA, a number which could grow following the launch of the club's WhatsApp account, and if plans to release an English version of its official app come to fruition.

“This will be our first pre-season outside of Europe, and with the USA we decided to go to a key target market for our club. RB Leipzig excites soccer fans both domestically and internationally with its unique story, which has taken us from the fifth division to the Champions League," explained Johann Plenge, the club's General Manager.

USMNT midfielder Tyler Adams (l.) and former USA international Jesse Marsch have RBL and NYRB connections - GEPA pictures/ K. Doelitzsch/imago/GEPA pictures

"We’ve brought the world of soccer back to Leipzig with our exciting European runs in recent years and as a host city for EURO 2024. Now we’re bringing Leipzig to the world! We want to take advantage of our good and special connection to New York and strengthen it for years to come. It’s an important step for us, but also for the Bundesliga, which rightly enjoys a great reputation in the US."

Leipzig has had a number of US connections since the club's foundation in 2009. Former US international Terrence Boyd (14 caps) was the first American to play for the club (2014-17), and he was followed by Tyler Adams, who came to Germany having played for the Red Bulls for four years. In 2022/23, Caden Clark made the same move, while Jesse Marsch, having previously coached the Red Bulls (2015-18) and worked as an assistant coach at RBL in 2018/19, was head coach of the Bundesliga club from July to December 2021.

The club has also staged a number of childrens' football camps in the New York metropolitan area led by coaches from the RB Leipzig Soccer School, while the Red Bulls' U13 and U14 sides were recently hosted by Leipzig's youth academy.