Chris Richards continued his rapid rise at Bayern Munich on Saturday by earning the first Bundesliga appearance of his career.
The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team standout came on as an 84th-minute substitute in Bayern’s 3-1 win against Freiburg, becoming the third American to play a Bundesliga match, and fourth to make an official appearance, for the Bundesliga champions.
Richards joined USMNT legend Landon Donovan and German-American Wolfgang Suhnholz as Americans to play a Bundesliga match. Former USMNT World Cup goal-scorer Julian Green played in the Champions League for Bayern but never made a Bundesliga appearance for the club.
Richards made a $1.25 million transfer from FC Dallas to Bayern in January of 2019, staying in Germany after a successful loan stint with Bayern’s U-19 teams. He went on to star at the Under-20 World Cup in the summer of 2019, helping the Americans reach the quarterfinals. Richards was widely-regarded as one of the best players in the tournament.
Richards followed up that strong Under-20 World Cup with a promotion from Bayern’s U-19 team to Bayern II in the German third division. He became a regular starter for Bayern II, impressing with his passing, defending and aerial dominance.
The 20-year-old Alabama native could see an increase role for Bayern next season, with aging central defenders Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez expected to move on. The rapid rise of Canadian defender Alphonso Davies shows Bayern isn’t afraid to give young players a chance, and Richards has established himself as one of the top prospects in Bayern’s development system.