Chris Richards is one of many Americans in Germany trying to make a name for himself and the young centerback is aiming for his competitive first team debut in the near future.
Richards has yet to debut for Bayern Munich’s first team in domestic or European play, despite appearing in the 2018 International Champions Cup. Since his move from FC Dallas, Richards has worked through the youth ranks at Bayern, most recently featuring regularly for the Under-23 team this season.
With many defensive veterans possibly on the way out this summer, Richards is confident in his ability to play for the first team.
“Hopefully next year I want to start getting some minutes on the field with the first team,” Richards said in an interview with the Underdog Soccer Podcast.
“There are still center backs here who are world class. I’m not taking anything away from them, but I think it’s time for me to start getting my shot at showing people what I have and hopefully one day becoming a Bayern legend.”
Richards has made 22 appearances for the reserves this season, scoring two goals. The road to a starting spot for the reigning Bundesliga champions is always going to be tough, but his improvement since joining the club has certainly impressed the front office and coaching staff.
The former U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team product is also aiming to work up in the ranks within U.S. Soccer. After earning 12 appearances for the U-20’s, Richards has made a pair of appearances for Jason Kreis’ Under-23 side and was likely to be included for the Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Tournament earlier this year.
He is one of many exciting young defensive prospects in the USMNT pool and very well could be a future starter for Gregg Berhalter’s squad. With World Cup Qualifying set to begin in the Fall and the Summer Olympics pushed to 2021 due to COVID-19, Richards’ stock could be boosted if he gets the nod in Bayern’s first team.
“For the National Team I want to be part of the team that helps in qualifying,” Richards said. “I want to qualify for a World Cup. I definitely want to be a part of that team […] I’m getting to a point in my career where peaking into the USMNT is something I can accomplish and something I wish to accomplish. I know 2026 is where I want to be a main player for the team, but hopefully 2022 is something I can strive for and be a part of. We want to show we’re better than our past.”
Richards and Bayern II were seventh in the 3. Liga table prior to the postponement of the domestic season. The club couldn’t earn promotion to the second-tier of German Football, but easily held their own against several former Bundesliga clubs.
With the Bundesliga season reportedly set to resume this month, Richards could get bumped up to the first team due to the 3. Liga season being ended abruptly. He would join Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna as the second American player to debut in the Bundesliga in 2020.