bundesliga

Tyler Adams: "Bundesliga offers Americans a clear pathway into first-team football"

RB Leipzig’s USA international Tyler Adams has spoken of the “clear pathway into first-team football” that the Bundesliga offers, making it particularly attractive for young American players looking to make the breakthrough in Europe.

Adams, 21, is one of the increasing number of Americans now calling the Bundesliga home, joining the likes of Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen) and Chris Richards (Bayern Munich) around the league’s top clubs.

All have followed in the successful footsteps of predecessors Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie at Dortmund and Schalke respectively, laying the foundations for yet more talent to cross the Atlantic to Germany.

“I think the continued success of young Americans coming to the league and getting opportunities to play is going to attract more young players,” the 12-time USMNT international told journalists in a virtual interview.

Watch: A USA groupchat with Adams, Sargent and Reyna

“Playing in Europe is one thing, but playing and being able to have an opportunity to play in the first team is something more important,” added Adams, who referenced his own career journey from New York Red Bulls to Leipzig in 2019 and playing the full 90 minutes on debut in a 4-0 win away at Fortuna Düsseldorf. It was five months until he lost a game as an RBL player.

“New York was connected in a way to Leipzig, and I had a pathway for myself to come into the first team here. The coaches were keen on me, they watched me for multiple years […] and there seemed like a clear pathway into the first team.

“That’s what I wanted, the quickest way to play first-team football at a high-level club. Obviously, Leipzig was up and coming, so I was very fortunate for that in that sense.”

Even with that rapid rise, Adams still has time to study for a psychology degree - ensuring he fulfils a promise he made to his mother when signing his first professional contract - and comfortably play in four different positions, rotating between central midfield, centre-back, right-back and right wing against Arminia Bielefeld on Matchday 9 alone.

Adams (r.) has been trusted by Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann (l.) in several positions on the pitch. - Heiko Becker via www.imago-images.de/imago images/HMB-Media

“Sometimes just being able to adapt on the fly and go with your instinct is the most important thing that’s helped me. The coaches set us up in ways where there’s so much adaptation within the game and tactical variations in the game that even when I’m playing right-back at times, I can receive the ball in midfield, I pressure out of midfield.

“It’s kind of your own individual characteristics that allow you to represent that position in a certain way.”

Leipzig’s New Yorker has another chance to show off the best America has to offer on the Bundesliga’s biggest stage at the weekend when Leipzig head to the Allianz Arena in Munich for a top-of-the-table clash with champions Bayern.