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.