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Wright, McKennie to remain with Schalke first team under new coach

It’s another positive development for a pair of Americans Abroad, as Haji Wright and Weston McKennie will remain with the Schalke first team next season.

The two young Americans have been mingling with the first team of the Bundesliga side for a short while, with McKennie earning an appearance and Wright making the bench for the team’s match against FC Ingolstadt last season, and now it appears their hard work has earned them permanent places with the senior squad. Alongside fellow youngster Luke Hemmreich, new Schalke manager Domenico Tedesco expects the work to continue from his three budding players.

“The three of them will be there,” said Tedesco. “But as for everyone else, it also applies to them that they have to look like they belong.”

McKennie made the leap to the Bundesliga side in August of 2016 after rejecting a Homegrown player deal with FC Dallas, who’s academy McKennie developed through. Wright made the leap shortly before him, in April 2016, after his contract with the New York Cosmos expired after only three appearances for the team.

McKennie and Wright have both featured heavily for Schalke’s youth teams, with strong performances also earning them looks at the international level. Both players have featured for the U.S. Youth National Teams from the U-17 level up to U-19 and U-20, though neither was present for the U-20 World Cup last month in South Korea.

6 comments
  • I scored three goals in one game

    Might be a little premature but with Wright’s size and ability to play up top or on the wing he brings versatility that could put him in conversation with a call up sooner rather than later if he can get consistent first team mins next season. Haven’t seen him play in awhile but from what I have seen he isn’t afraid to take people on 1vs1 and has good technical abilities, I hope he can prove himself with schalke and be another young American making strides in Germany

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    • wychijeff

      Scouting reports are saying he has the potential to be good, but needs to work on being consistent (which is normal for a player his age). Finding consistency will be what determines if he makes it at Schalke.

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  • jayboy

    This is cool and I hope one of these two can have a break out year. Making the first team is a great accomplishment but it doesn’t really help the USMNT. If either of these guys starts getting games in the Fall that would be really exciting!
    Also, does McKennie play as a 6/8? If so, he’s competing against Bradley, Acosta, Jermaine, Dax & Roldan. Certainly starting at Schalke would vault him over a few of these players.
    I agree that Haji might be the more important player for the US if he can find success at Schalke.

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    • wychijeff

      I’m going to disagree here. I think McKennie is the more important player for the U.S. Our forward options are all still relatively young. We need to find a partner for Bradley in the short-term and a more box-to-box midfielder in the long-term. I see Acosta taking over for Bradley eventually, but that leaves 1 or 2 spots open in the midfield (depending on what formation we play). Reports are that McKennie could be that special type of midfielder who can do it all, and the type of player we have been missing in our central midfield since Stu Holden and maybe even beyond that. If he develops and turns out, he could solve many of the midfield problems that have plagued us our entire existence, primarily providing consistent service to our forwards. Again, lots of ifs here, but for these reasons, I think he is the more important prospect.

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  • wychijeff

    Also, it seems SBI was a little liberal with the quote (at least compared to what ESPN is reporting). According to ESPN the quote was “”They will join us for now but, as is the case for all others, I need to see how they work.

    “If I come to the conclusion by then that a player won’t help us, I will be honest and ask him to find a different solution for the sake of his personal development.

    “The under-23 team [playing in the fifth league], a loan or maybe even a transfer — there are several options.”

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