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U.S. U-20s Wright, McKennie, Taitague train with Schalke first team

A trio of United States Youth National Team players are getting some serious looks in Germany.

Haji Wright, Weston McKennie, and Nick Taitague all trained with the Schalke 04 first team on Wednesday as they got some serious work and looks from the coaching staff. The three young Americans abroad all play for Schalke’s U-19 team as they try and further their hopes of playing for their European club.

All three players have the potential to be included in the U.S. U-20 World Cup team this summer, and their progression within Schalke’s system will only help their chances. Wright, McKennie, and Taitague all joined the Bundesliga team less than a year apart, with Wright and McKennie coming from the New York Cosmos¬†and FC Dallas academy,¬†respectively, and Taitague joining from an amateur contract with the Carolina RailHawks (now North Carolina FC) of the NASL.

The news is good for the future of the USMNT, as it seems like Schalke is serious about developing their young American talent into first-team contributing players. The U-20’s enter this summer’s World Cup having won the first CONCACAF U-20 championship in team history, earning the first ever U-20’s win over Mexico in the process.


  1. Does Schalke have a u-23 team that would be the next step up for these guys? Also are these guys a getting 90 minutes a week playing for the u-19’s? Thx

    • All three generally play the whole match, I just checked their last three and Nick had been brought off late a couple of times. Stats aren’t very well kept as Taitague doesn’t even have any despite playing for a month.

      In Germany, they seem to favor the Junior A or U19s to the Regionalia (U23s) not sure why exactly. Pulisic and Passlack both who saw time as starters for Dortmund last year would rotate back and forth with U19s but never to the U23s. Likewise, this season Danish player Jacob Bruun Larsen has played a cup match or two plus some friendlies for the Dortmund full team, but plays for the U19s not the U23s. Mckinze Gaines another American has played a friendly or two with Wolfsburg main squad, but only plays for the U19s in league play. He played with the U23s in some friendlies in Florida in January but hasn’t played with them after the winter break.

      Its likely the 3 Americans are with the full squad because they are on a mini-break with the international window and some regulars are gone, but still a great opportunity. Schalke is in 9th place, but only 6 pts ahead of relegation squad Hamburg, so we probably won’t see them anytime soon in the Bundesliga. Schalke U19s are in first place in the West division.


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