Promising U.S. prospects in Germany 

August, 8, 2011

You know, of course, that the new coach of the U.S. national team is German. But did you know that within a few years -- if he's still around -- Jurgen Klinsmann may be able to fill out his lineup card exclusively with players plying their trade in his home country?

As German teams enter the market en masse for American youth, Bundesliga regulars Steve Cherundolo, Michael Bradley and Timothy Chandler are beginning to look like just the tip of the iceberg. Bundesliga teams' youth rosters are suddenly brimming with Americans, and not just the dual-national children of American servicemen posted abroad.

Last week, we told you about Anthony Brooks, Alfredo Morales and Jann George -- three Americans on the verge of first-team Bundesliga action this season. With the league kicking off over the weekend, now is as good a time as any to fill out the rest of the lineup by catching up on the growing class of young Americans in Germany. So here's a rundown of promising American prospects perfecting their trade in Klinsmann's homeland:

Terrence Boyd, F, Borussia Dortmund

On the heels of a couple appearances for the U.S. under-20s during their trip to France in May, the 20-year-old Boyd made a notable switch this summer, signing a professional contract for Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund. After lighting up the reserves for Hertha Berlin, the German-American striker will now see what he can do for the champs' second team in the Regionalliga. As promising as the young American looks, breaking into Dortmund's first team anytime soon will be an uphill battle. But that may not stop him from gaining the attention of U.S. Olympic team scouts.

Joseph Gyau, M/F, 1899 Hoffenheim

A favorite of many American fans for his ability to get loose on the wings and some precocious ability on the ball, Gyau has risen through the ranks quickly at Hoffenheim. Signing along with former U.S. U-17 teammate Charles Renken in the summer of 2009, the American of Ghanaian descent has quickly found his way onto the U-23 team -- essentially the reserves -- and spent some time this summer training with the first team. By most accounts, the 19-year-old Gyau still has a ways to go to become an impact player in Germany, but it's not far-fetched to think his Bundesliga debut could be coming by spring, if not sooner.

Charles Renken, M, 1899 Hoffenheim

Once one of the most promising young American players around, Renken is back from a second serious knee injury, suffered on tour for the U.S. U-17s all the way back in 2009. Late last season he finally got some games with Hoffenheim's U-19 squad, to positive reviews. The aggressive midfielder is set to start the season off again at the U-19 level, but given the ability he has shown on the ball and the maturity demonstrated in overcoming two major injuries, he could soon join Gyau at a higher level in Hoffenheim.

Bobby Wood, F, 1860 Munich

Wood is among the more advanced of this list of prospects, having made his first-team debut last season with five late-season sub appearances for 1860. This year, he'll hope to figure more prominently as the club looks to get back to the Bundesliga. He starts the season back on the first team (he was on the bench over the weekend for a 5-0 thrashing of Energie Cottbus), after reportedly attracting the interest of some Bundesliga clubs over the summer. The Hawaii native struggled with injury at the CONCACAF U-20 championships in April, but with a strong showing this season he could well force his way into consideration for next year's American Olympic team.

Fabian Hurzeler, MF/F, Bayern Munich

Hurzeler made waves last year when Thomas Rongen declared after a scouting trip to Germany that he had convinced the former German U-17 captain to join the American side. The flexible attacker then figured in one U-20 camp before skipping the fateful World Cup qualifying tournament for exams. Since then, he seems to have wavered a bit on his commitment to the U.S., so this season will be a big one in more than one respect, as Hurzeler looks to move up from Bayern's U-19s and secure a pro contract. He may also need to come to a national team decision.

Jerome Kiesewetter, F, Hertha Berlin

Kiesewetter's stock is rising after an impressive Milk Cup display two weeks ago with the American U-18s. The forward scored a pair of goals in three matches, and generally impressed with his speed and finishing ability. Another German-American who prefers the Stars and Stripes at the national team level, Kiesewetter will be splitting his time this year between Hertha's U-19s and the reserve squad, as he looks for a breakthrough for club and country. He's eligible for the 2013 U-20 World Cup and figures to be a big part of the team this cycle.

Carlos Martinez, MF, Energie Cottbus

A former U.S. U-17 international who made one appearance at the 2009 U-17 World Cup, Martinez' decision to cut his teeth in Europe has reached an important juncture. He was a regular last year in Cottbus' U-19 team, so this season will be crucial in earning a pro contract and an extended stay in Germany.

Shaquille Phillips, D, Energie Cottbus

The former Bradenton resident moved to Energie Cottbus after time with the U.S. U-17 team and a stint in DC United's academy. Still a project, he'll likely spend another season at the U-19 level. Since he's about to outgrow that category, the 2011-12 campaign is a make-or-break year for Phillips in Germany.

Matthew Dunn, MF, FC Koln

A hard-nosed defensive mid, Dunn spent a good chunk of last season in Bradenton with the U.S. U-17 team, preparing for the youth World Cup. Now back in Cologne, he'll be looking to establish himself with the U-19s. Earning a pro contract will be his primary goal over the next couple seasons.

Tyrone McCargo, MF/F, Nurnberg

Just 17, the left-footed McCargo joined his hometown team over the summer, where he will feature for the U-19s this year. A speedy winger, he could play for any of up to four countries including (U.S., Germany, Italy and Greece) and is yet to make up his mind on national team allegiances.


• Midfielder Alejandro Guido, who led the U.S. U-17s at the World Cup in Mexico earlier this summer, has turned up in Holland on trial with Vitesse Arnhem.

• This blog has been playing him up for the last two weeks, and Luis Gil repaid that confidence over the weekend with his best performance in an RSL shirt. The 17-year-old started the match against New York at his preferred attacking midfield spot, and scored his first MLS goal in RSL's 3-0 victory.

• Gale Agbossoumonde is earning the title of journeyman defender at a young age. The former U.S. U-20 centerback is with his fourth team in just over a year, having turned up in Cologne, on trial with the Bundesliga side. Indications are he'll stick around through the fall before a long-term decision is made on a contract.

Brent Latham is a soccer commentator who covers the youth national teams for Based in Guatemala, he has attended youth World Cups from Peru to Egypt, and places in between.



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