Schalke’s Weston McKennie gives rallying cry for Americans to come to Europe
Weston McKennie has told American youngsters to take a chance on European football if they get it, as well as tipping countryman Josh Sargent for success with Werder Bremen.
"If you have the opportunity, I would say for me ... 100 per cent take it," the 19-year-old Schalke midfielder said, urging more of his star-spangled countrymen to take the plunge. "If it's the right choice, if everything fits, if everything makes sense, I would say come. You don't want to start in MLS and always have the question in the back of your head if you could have made it over there? I didn't want that."
Watch: Introducing Weston McKennie!
McKennie needn’t have any regrets. Already 12 Schalke appearances and a senior international debut goal against UEFA EURO 2016 champions Portugal better off, he - along with Christian Pulisic – is leading the U.S. soccer revolution, on European soil.
The teenager only joined the Schalke academy in 2016, but is already playing regular first-team football for the Royal Blues, and last month made his senior international debut for the USA. Just as it did for Borussia Dortmund mega talent and best friend Pulisic – who already has 51 Bundesliga appearances and 20 senior USA caps under his belt at the age of 19 - the transatlantic gamble paid off.
The next teenager who will join McKennie and Pulisic on German shores is Sargent - the youngest player in USA history to be called up to the Under-17, U-20 and senior sides in the same year – who has genuine designs on joining the party.
"He’s already asked me questions about [the Bundesliga]," McKennie told ESPN FC. "'How is it over there? Is the training harder? Do you have to run more? Is it this and is it that?' And I'm giving him answers: 'You do have to run more.' And he's like, 'Yeah. I kinda figured."
Sargent officially joins the Green-Whites from Missouri’s St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club on 1 January 2018, and will sign a professional contract with the four-time Bundesliga champions when he turns 18 a month later.
"He's one of the type of kids that loves to learn, and better himself, and if someone tells him he has to hit with this part of the foot, he will not be like I know how I am doing it, he'll be like OK, I’m gonna try,” McKennie said. “The Bundesliga is a better league than the MLS. He’ll be in a good environment."