Ulysses Llanez’s rapid rise through the ranks at German Bundesliga side Wolfsburg has continued despite the current break in the season.
Llanez will join Wolfsburg’s first team as the team continues to wait for the resumption of the Bundesliga season. The U.S. Men’s National Team forward has mainly featured for Wolfsburg’s Under-19 team this campaign, impressing for most of the season.
“Ulysses is clear in his actions, strong in one-on-one situations and finishes very well,” Wolfsburg sporting director Marcel Schäfer said to German outlet Kicker.
He was added to the team’s Europa League roster back in early February, but has not dressed yet for Oliver Glasner’s squad.
The 18-year-old California native has made 16 appearances for Wolfsburg’s U-19 side, scoring 11 goals and registering six assists in just over 1,200 minutes of action. Llanez has yet to feature for Wolfsburg II, but will be given the chance to hopefully make his senior debut for the club if the Bundesliga season finishes.
“He’s developing well but there’s still a few things he can improve,” Wolfsburg U-19 head coach Pablo Thiam said. “But we want to show him we have a vision for him. What he’s shown with the U-19s he now needs to show in first-team training.”
Llanez’s career began within the L.A. Galaxy Academy in 2017 before moving to Wolfsburg in July 2019. He joined both John Brooks and Michael Edwards who are also at Wolfsburg, with Brooks starting regularly for the first team. Edwards has mainly featured for the Under-23 team.
After working his way through the ranks of U.S. Soccer, Llanez made his senior debut for Gregg Berhalter’s side in a 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica in January. He scored the lone goal of the match, scoring from the penalty spot at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles and putting in a Man of the Match performance.
Most of his international appearances at the youth level came with the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, scoring seven goals in 13 appearances. He appeared in the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland, helping the U.S. reach the quarterfinals for a third-consecutive time.
He was expected to be a part of the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team, who were originally scheduled to begin 2020 Olympic Qualifying this month in Guadalajara, Mexico. However, both the Qualifying tournament and Tokyo Olympics were postponed until 2021.
Wolfsburg have returned to training, but under strict safety conditions as a decision on the season has yet to be made. The club is currently seventh in the Bundesliga table with 11 matches remaining.