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Looking past Pulisic – introducing the new wave of US talent tearing up Europe

Living the American dream in Europe is becoming a common career path.

Christian Pulisic has been the flag bearer for the USMNT for some years and his £58m move to Chelsea this summer was a long time coming.

Pulisic will get his chance to shine at Stamford Bridge, but at 21 he’s old news now.


Pulisic leads the way for young Americans

Pulisic leads the way for young Americans

Yes there’s a hotbed of even younger US talent making a name for themselves across the pond and hoping to emulate the 21-year-old’s success.

Unsurprisingly, the Bundesliga is proving the perfect platform.

As with the next generation of British players, opportunities are rife in Germany for their US counterparts.

Tyler Adams might be injured at the moment but he’s a key cog at arguably the most progressive club in Europe right now.

Hurdle practise for Adams

Hurdle practise for Adams

RB Leipzig are top of the Bundesliga – and genuine title challengers this season – and are led by the best young manager around in Julian Nagelsmann.

Leipzig value his importance so highly that he started the German Cup final defeat to Bayern Munich in May despite missing the previous five games with a groin problem.

Born in the Hudson Valley region of New York, Adams came through the Red Bulls academy before inevitably joining sister franchise Leipzig in January.

Yes that is Declan Rice in an Ireland kit

Yes that is Declan Rice in an Ireland kit

He is tenacious in the tackle, disgustingly composed in possession and his versatility makes him a real teacher’s pet.

What’s more, Adams will have gone from MLS to Champions League football in the same calendar year when he returns to full fitness.

He’s not the only one making a splash in Germany either.

There are dream debuts, and then there’s the one Josh Sargent made for Werder Bremen last December.

Looks like a ginger Pavard if you ask me

AP:Associated Press
Looks like a ginger Pavard if you ask me

The Missouri-born forward had only just been promoted from the club’s U23s when he was thrown on as a substitute against Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Two minutes and one touch later he had recorded the fastest goal by a debutant in the club’s rich history.

He also produced this outrageous moment against Augsburg a few weeks ago:

And who better to shadow and learn from than 40-year-old Bundesliga and Peru legend Claudio Pizarro?

About 200 miles west another gem is being refined, and with a name like Sergiño Dest you’re pretty much destined to possess something special.

Dest is the latest to emerge from the talent factory at Ajax and he shares the same street soccer ethos.


Judging by their dismantling of Lille on Tuesday night they aren’t missing Matthijs De Ligt and Frenkie De Jong too much, with Dest playing the full 90 minutes.

The 18-year-old shone; exuberant tricks and flicks combined with an assured full-back performance.

American Instagram pages have been waxing lyrical about Dest for some time, his style an automatic appeal for the YouTube generation.

But now he’s playing proper football at the highest level, capitalising on usual right-back Noussair Mazraoui’s injury problems.

Dest is yet to commit to either the USA or the Netherlands long term but he has played two friendlies for Gregg Berhalter’s side.

He was also named in the Concacaf U20 World Championship Team of the Tournament back in 2017, when the US lifted the trophy.

A sprinkling of Dutch Total Football in the mould of Dani Alves – what more could you want from a modern full back?

It would be an injustice to say Adams, Sargent and Dest are the future for the USMNT when they’re already playing a part in the present.

For so long the hopes of the national side had rested solely on Pulisic’s shoulders.

The reality is he’s got a trio of ready-made superstars by his side capable of making this their best generation yet.