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The UEFA Champions League is on course to have another record number of Americans


The final spots in the UEFA Champions League group stage are being battled for, and once those final spots are decided we will be a step closer to knowing just how many Americans will be competing in the upcoming competition.

What we can start preparing for is more records to fall, with the recently-set records of 10 Americans on Champions League group stage rosters and nine Americans actually playing in the group stage in one year’s cycle in line to be broken.

As things stand here, here are the eight Americans currently set to take part in the Champions League group stage;

Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Sergiño Dest (FC Barcelona), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Tim Weah (Lille), Zack Steffen (Manchester City)

That number will increase by at least two after the current Champions League playoffs conclude next week, with two sets of Americans competing against each other for places. Brenden Aaronson and Red Bull Salzburg lead Christian Cappis and Brondby after the first leg of their playoff tie (Cappis missed the first leg after testing positive for COVID-19).

Meanwhile, Jordan Siebatcheu and Swiss champions Young Boys took a 3-2 first-leg lead on Henry Wingo and Ferencvaros.

That means we should have at least 10 American players be involved in the group stage, which would tie the record set a year ago, though that number could go up even further if, as is being widely reported, American midfielder Owen Otasowie is transferred to Belgian champion Club Brugge.

There is also Chris Richards, who is currently still with Bayern Munich, though he is widely-reported to be a player the German champions could sell this summer. Throw in other potential transfers, and there could be as many as 12 or potentially more Americans named to Champions League group stage rosters.

To put these numbers into better perspective, the record for Americans included on Champions League group stage rosters was just six prior to last year’s record group, and the record number of Americans to actually play in one Champions League group stage was just five as recently as a year ago, before a total of nine Americans played in last year’s group stage.

As things stand, both records could be broken for the second straight year when the Champions League group stage takes place this fall.


  1. One advantage Mexican NT has had is that Liga MX has provided them with many players who are teammates over the years. That familiarity usually extends to there NT but due to not being as stout as EPL Bundesliga Serie A or La Liga limits their ceiling hence lots of round if 16 losses. On paper and in recent play our NT is primed to do some real damage if they are healthy and in form at club.

    • Mexico sometimes plays beautiful football. They are often fun to watch as they move, pass, and dribble. Their problem, as I see it, is that when they play top echelon teams from South America or especially Europe, they run into teams that are just as skilled and can physically over power the Mexicans.

      • all due respect to this argument but i feel like the emphasis on technique alone pushed by some dutch soccer advocates here tries to push us in the same direction as mexico, of being technical but a little soft and whiny. there is some advantage to the historical organization, team defense, discipline, athleticism, speed, height. plenty of teams like italy and germany expect such qualities and also emphasize smart technical soccer and attacking virtuosity. it’s a false opposition. we can walk and chew gum at the same time. easy. take the gold cup defense and the nations league offense. voila. fixed your team. we can then win 3-0 instead of 1-0 (no offense) or 3-2 (no defense). at which point we can discuss how mexico’s one dimension can’t keep up with our multidimensionality. if we copy mexico then the only question is who is the better copy of that one note approach.

    • I’ve also noticed, especially since the start of the Dos a Cero era, is that the Mexican NT are prone to being frustrated (especially against the US), especially when their shots keep missing the target. This eventually gets into their heads and can lead them to doing boneheaded things (rough fouls, silly cards, for example) and mistakes.
      Not sure if it is a product of LigaMX (and how the league is played/run there), media/fan pressure, a superiority complex thing, a cultural thing or a combination of these.

    • i think the fact mexico has most of its players at home is a big advantage in U23 quali. it’s like when we had mostly MLS and college in terms of access and getting around release issues. the FIFA rules generally remove the release issue for senior team players, although i think we need to be attentive to rotations with 3 game windows and travel from as far away as germany or turkey. which mexico is less concerned with, with a less expeditionary team. i see a chicken and egg question on whether europe benefits the team. i tend to think when we are more prominent there it just reflects we did a better job with that U20 class. when we have more talent they are more interested. they can then play in quality leagues and get fit and maybe learn a thing or two. i think we overrate the MLS vs. Europe thing. Mexico isn’t hung up on how many play MX, or some pretense MLS sucks for their players. i think the more pertinent question is whether your home league provides adequate opportunities for young players. i am not sure that is as true as MLS expanded to 8 internationals. i think MLS used to be a place a Holden could come back to and announce themselves. MLS these days good luck breaking in. i think at least one thing driving players going abroad these days is MLS is no longer a safety school, it’s just as tough to break in as much of europe. so it makes as much sense to go sign for schalke or whatever. if FCD will send me to North Texas why not be at Bayern 2 instead, so to speak. and these days the fact they are less biased against us and more interested encourages that decision. before good luck of even landon convincing them he’s good.


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