Justin Che is the latest American talent to earn an opportunity in Europe and the defender hopes to continue making the most of his time at the home of the reigning UEFA Champions League winners.
Che is currently featuring for Bayern Munich II in the 3. Liga, after joining the club on a five-month loan from MLS club FC Dallas. After heading to Germany as part of a trial alongside several other Dallas teammates, Che has continued to earn minutes at a rapid rate, continuing his development a professional player.
The U.S. Under-16 Men’s National Team product is coming off a 45-minute performance in Bayern II’s 4-0 loss on Monday and is eager to continue learning at the home of one of Europe’s finest and most successful clubs.
“I have a lot still to learn, but one thing is clear: if the team needs me, I’m there,” Che told Bayern TV in an interview. “I’m ready. This is a huge chance for me, it’s a learning opportunity. It’s crazy to wear this badge on my chest. The club won the Champions League last year and is currently the best club in the world.”
“It’s a blessing and an honor to play here and represent this badge. I’ll do everything to help this team.”
Che hasn’t made his senior debut for FC Dallas yet, but it hasn’t stopped him from already grabbing exposure in Europe as a young player. The 17-year-old centerback played the full 90 minutes in matches against FSV Zwickau and Hansa Rostock, and overall has accrued over 200 minutes in four appearances.
It’s a positive start for Che, who like former FC Dallas product Chris Richards, has featured for Bayern II in rapid succession. Richards is currently in the middle of a loan spell himself, this at fellow Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, where he’s played in 13 matches and registered one assist.
Although he is four years younger than Richards, Che has idolized his fellow American’s time in Europe so far and credits the Alabama native for being an inspiration to him.
“Chris [Richards] is like a big brother to me,” Che said. “He also comes from FC Dallas, was at Bayern and is now playing in the Bundesliga. Every young player from the academy there is trying to follow the same path he has taken.
“His development gives me a lot of hope and ambition. Maybe I can also make it in the Bundesliga one day if I work hard.”
Che has four more matches left on his schedule with Bayern II before the end of his loan spell in Munich. No decision has been made on whether or not Bayern will exercise a purchase option for Che in the future, but the American’s impressive time in Germany could play huge dividends for his future as a professional player.