Weston McKennie is one of many U.S. Men’s National Team players excelling overseas and now the midfielder is looking to make the most of a new challenge in Europe.
McKennie has featured twice for Serie A side Juventus on loan from Schalke, becoming the first American player to play for the domestic giants. The 21-year-old has helped Juventus to seven points from a possible nine to start the season, including an opening day win over Sampdoria.
Not only is McKennie getting the chance to play for one of the top clubs in the world, but he is one of the faces of the USMNT, which is seeing several other players impress for top European leagues.
“It’s exciting to be part of the new generation,” McKennie told ESPN. “You have a team that is getting the exposure and experience of playing day-in and day-out with the best players in the world.”
“It is exciting and I can’t wait for November [at the next international break] if we are able proceed with a camp.”
The midfielder impressed in his time at Schalke, but wasn’t going to pass up the chance to move to Turin this season. Juventus has won eight-consecutive league titles and is constantly reaching the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League every season.
McKennie gets to work with several star players including Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, and Gianluigi Buffon while also learning from a former playing legend in Andrea Pirlo. Pirlo became manager of the Old Lady this summer after a 22-year playing career which saw stops at Juventus, AC Milan, and New York City FC.
The opportunity to learn from a former midfielder is a major benefit for McKennie, who has already jumped into Pirlo’s squad as a new player.
“It has been very intriguting to come to Juventus, [Pirlo] was one of the best at his position in the game, similar to the position I play,” McKennie said. “I knew I’d be able to learn so much from him being my coach.
“He plays with us sometimes, he looks so elegant and nonchalant, but you can’t take the ball from him.”
McKennie will have chances to win trophies at Juventus this season with the club a favorite to win a domestic double and also compete in Europe. With no international duty this month in the United States, McKennie remains in Italy training for Matchday 4 of the Serie A schedule vs. Crotone on Oct. 17th.