Standing out alongside Christian Pulisic for the USA’s U17s and breaking into the New York Red Bulls and US senior teams as a teenager shows new RB Leipzig signing Tyler Adams has a rare talent.
1) Who? When? Where?
The USMNT international midfielder will now try to prove that in Europe after joining Ralf Rangnick's side — bundesliga.com throws the spotlight on the latest trans-Atlantic prodigy to come to Germany.
Tyler Shaan Adams was born on 14 February, 1999, in Wappinger, New York. He shares a birthday with a number of notable footballers, such as Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani, Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen, former Arsenal and Manchester City full-back Bacary Sagna, and ex-European Footballer of the Year and Hamburg star import Kevin Keegan.
2) Star pupil
Having joined the Red Bullls’ Regional Development School (RDS) program at the age of 10, Adams continued his studies at Wappinger’s Roy C. Ketcham High School via distance learning after he was accepted into US Soccer’s Under-17 residency programme in Bradenton, Florida.
“I’m missing the social aspect, which is hard for any kid my age,” said Adams, who graduated in 2017. “But then again, I have the opportunity to play pro soccer. That doesn’t come around every day.”
It has certainly paid off. Adams was called up to the senior USMNT squad for the first time in November 2017 - at the same time Schalke's Weston McKennie made his debut - and has since made nine appearances for the Stars and Stripes.
3) Soccer ambition
“There was a point as a parent where you tell him it may not be realistic,” his mum, Melissa Russo, explained when asked about her son’s ambition to play the European-brand of football. “But never did he say he wanted to do anything else. Maybe an architect, once or twice. As a parent, this is awesome. You just pray your kid ends up doing something they love.”
Architecture’s loss is football’s gain with Adams building a successful career from the foundations up. Signed by New York Red Bulls II as their first ever player on March 19, 2015, he joined the franchise’s senior squad later that same year. His MLS debut followed in 2016 and by 2018, he was a fully-fledged first-teamer, even scoring in the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final win over Tijuana as the Red Bulls reached the last four before falling to eventual winners Guadalajara.
4) What a pass by Adams!
Thierry Henry was one of the Red Bulls’ biggest names when Adams was coming through the club’s youth system. The generation gap between the two meant their names were never on the same teamsheet, but Adams did play a role in one of the French superstar’s most famous MLS goals.
Henry bent a legendary ‘Olimpico’ goal in off the far post direct from a corner against Columbus Crew in September 2012, and the name of the ball boy who passed him the ball for his iconic strike? Tyler Adams.
5) Quick Marsch
There will be at least one familiar face in the Leipzig set-up to welcome Adams. Jesse Marsch, who was appointed Rangnick’s assistant coach for this season, spotted Adams’ potential when he joined Borussia Dortmund’s Pulisic centre stage while playing for the US U17s team. “There was a lot of talented players on the field at that time, and Tyler stood out as one of their main guys,” said Marsch, who was then the Red Bulls’ head coach. “I thought Pulisic had a really good game that day and I thought Tyler was the next best player. So we got excited.”