Jonathan Klinsmann (front) is hoping to make a name for himself at Herha Berlin. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Jonathan Klinsmann (front) is hoping to make a name for himself at Herha Berlin. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

McKennie, Klinsmann and the new wave of American stars looking to earn their stripes in the Bundesliga


Drawing on the likes of Borussia Dortmund star Christian Pulisic and Wolfsburg's American record transfer John Brooks for inspiration, five fledgling members of a new wave of American talent are looking forward to earning their stripes in the Bundesliga in the coming years.

Weston McKennie, Jonathan Klinsmann, Caleb Stanko, Haji Wright and Brady Scott: remember the names. runs the rule over the next generation of red, white and blue Bundesliga hopefuls...

Weston McKennie

Club: Schalke

Date of Birth: 28 August 1998

Position: Midfielder

McKennie has been one of the surprise packages of Schalke's pre-season, with a string of assured performances at the heart of midfield. The 18-year-old was promoted from the U19s in May and got his first taste of Bundesliga football on the final day of the season, in a 1-1 draw with Ingolstadt.

Having turned down an offer to play in his native USA with Dallas, the ambitious McKennie is now looking to build on his impressive summer and prove to new coach Domenico Tedesco that he has what it takes to hold down a regular starting place.

Jonathan Klinsmann

Club: Hertha Berlin

Date of Birth: 8 April 1997

Position: Goalkeeper

It's never easy to follow in the footsteps of a famous father, and yet Jonathan Klinsmann - son of former VfB Stuttgart and Germany legend Jürgen - is hoping to make a name for himself at Hertha after signing his first professional contract this summer. 

The 20-year-old goalkeeper - who grew up in California - had trials with Everton, West Ham United and his father's former club VfB before arriving in the capital, not far from where his grandfather Siegfried - a Hertha fan - was born.

Klinsmann Junior played every minute for the Stars and Stripes as they reached the quarter-finals of this summer's FIFA U20 World Cup, and it was then that Hertha got in touch with Jürgen about bringing his son on board. Jonathan is now looking forward to learning and progressing with some of the best in the business.

"Hertha are a big club, a Europa League participant, one you'd like to play for and whose level you'd like to reach," Klinsmann said. "To learn from Rune Jarstein and Thomas Kraft and get used to the level of play in the Bundesliga is a fantastic opportunity. It was a chance I had to take with both hands."

Caleb Stanko

Club: Freiburg

Date of Birth: 23 July 1993

Position: Midfielder

Stanko is back in the Bundesliga after a year on loan at Liechtenstein's Swiss Super League outfit FC Vaduz. The 24-year-old has been on Freiburg's books since 2011, and is hoping to enjoy a breakthrough season at the Black Forest club in 2017/18.

Having made a handful of first-team appearances in the promotion-winning campaign of 2015/16, Stanko was handed his first international cap by former USMNT coach Klinsmann in September of last year.


One of Stanko's great strengths is his versatility - a defensive midfielder by trade, he has slotted in at centre-back for much of pre-season. With Caglar Söyüncu, Marc-Oliver Kempf and Philipp Lienhardt each vying for a place at the back, Stanko knows it will be difficult to bolt down a starting place, but he's up for the challenge.  

"We're all fighting for one place, and I think it's pretty tight," Stanko told Germany's leading sports magazine, kicker. "I've prepared well, trained hard and I believe in myself. I want to play more than anything. That's important to me." Starts against Torino and Feyenoord in pre-season suggest his coach Christian Streich might just agree.

Haji Wright

Club: Schalke

Date of Birth: 27 March 1998

Position: Striker

There's nothing like scoring four goals in a pre-season friendly to get people's attention, although McKennie's fellow American Wright was already being touted as a hot prospect before playing a starring role in the 9-1 dismantling of SpVgg Erkenschwick.

The 19-year-old forward won't get the chance to light up the Bundesliga straight away, after Schalke opted to send him out on loan to second-tier Sandhausen for the upcoming season. The extra game time should allow the USMNT youth player to continue his rapid progression, though, and he fully intends to seize his opportunity with the Royal Blues when it comes around.

Wright, who scored 11 goals in 24 league games for the club's U19s last term, was promoted to the senior squad at the same time as McKennie. He says that in the long term, he is determined to follow in the footsteps of illustrious compatriot Pulisic.

"Christian is a great soccer player but an even better friend," he told USA Today. "It's great to see someone else who has made it. It definitely shows it's possible to get from where I am at to where he's at."

Brady Scott

Club: Cologne

Date of Birth: 30 June 1999

Position: Goalkeeper

Klinsmann wasn't the only American goalkeeper to move across the pond this summer. Scott, who only turned 18 in June, penned a three-year deal with Cologne in July, having turned down an opportunity at the University of Virginia.

Second-choice keeper behind Klinsmann at the U20 World Cup, Scott was brought in to bolster the Billy Goats' reserves, but found himself travelling with the first team squad to their training camp in Austria following an injury to Thomas Kessler.

Click here for more on the American stars already lighting up the Bundesliga