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Jordan Pefok joins Union Berlin on permanent deal


Jordan Pefok is the newest member of the growing American contingent in the German Bundesliga.

Union Berlin acquired Pefok on a permanent transfer from Swiss side Young Boys on Thursday. The U.S. men’s national team striker signed a four-year contract with the German club, ending a three-year stay with Young Boys.

“Jordan is a striker who will be a good fit for us with his way of playing football and can act in different game systems,” Union Berlin managing director Oliver Ruhnert said. “We are looking forward to him, his goal prowess and the fact that he has chosen Union.”

Pefok scored 22 goals for Young Boys last season, winning the Swiss Pro League’s Golden Boot award. The 26-year-old totaled 88 appearances for the Bern-based club, scoring 42 goals and adding nine assists.

Pefok previously played with Stade Reims and Rennes in the French top-flight, scoring 30 goals and registering 12 assists in 118 combined appearances. Born in Washington, D.C., Pefok has earned nine caps with the U.S. men’s national team to date, with his lone goal coming against Honduras in the 2021 Concacaf Nations League semifinals.

“After two successful years in Bern, where as a young player I had the perfect environment to develop further, the next step in my career is now ahead of me,” Pefok said. “I want to prove myself in the Bundesliga and I am convinced that I have found the right club in Union. Their style of play suits me very well and I’m looking forward to scoring for the Iron in the incredible atmosphere at the Alte Försterei.”

His arrival at Union Berlin comes immediately after Taiwo Awoniyi left the club to join newly-promoted English Premier League club Nottingham Forest. Awoniyi led Union Berlin with 15 league goals in 31 appearances last season as the Bundesliga club finished fifth in the league standings.

Union Berlin finished fifth in the Bundesliga last season and qualified for the 2022-23 UEFA Europa League group stage.


  1. the people fanboying this one don’t seem to realize where they finished in B.1. for someone who made their case from the swiss league getting production in playing time, this is probably actually more likely to result in him sitting. JK would have adored the ambition but players who went to B.1 and sat or fell off have generally been punished by GB. to me this is pefok either writing off the NT or making a cash driven decision and the chips fall where they may. not exactly platforming himself for an outside shot at qatar when the coach and his former dallas assistant seem to adore the frisco bunch.

  2. I also see GB taking 3 strikers. For sure Ferreira will be going.
    With 26 player roster limit, I see 2 extra mid and 1 extra striker.

    • i see pepi and ferreira if healthy as locks. GB has a short memory, they have some production, and their old coach is the assistant with the head’s ear. based on what dallas did last year this is not confidence inspiring. i see 1 more 9 getting rostered as well as some others like pulisic, weah, and maybe morris that could deputize as strikers.

      not sold they are really much better than the pool but they are the only ones putting the ball in the net. though i question the level of opponent when that happens. and GB other than wright and maybe pefok didn’t exactly open it up to much other competition to throw down any numbers.

      personally i would be considering the “dempsey/donovan” response. not sold they are superior to a converted wing. i’d rather have pulisic starting than them. i think ferreira does offer in the abstract a false 9 alternative tactical wrinkle but people seem to forget we already tried a false 9 on wales B and it went awful. trying to think of a group game that tactic fits. not sure if there is one. maybe iran? otherwise wales and england i think you need a traditional striker and ditto most teams that might make a knockout round. the game planning and rostering should be in terms of who we play and not just some sort of snob award ceremony.

      • To be fair the false 9 experiment against Wales was after like a day of training with Sebi Lleget as the 9 and two teenagers making their NT debuts as wingers that were not on the same page. I think what 3G prefers about Ferreira is that he can play as a “false 9” or traditional line leading 9 that gives the team more flexibility to adapt to defenses. He’s not great in the air but he finds spaces in the box. However, I could also see Ferreira going cold and playing his way out.

    • Yeah, the striker spots are pretty much up for grabs. Maybe Ferreira has a leg up on the others. But anyone who gets hot in August-October will have a good shot at going to Qatar. They have to get on the field, and, once there, they have to bang some goals in.

      • Yeah. With the roster being increased to 26 I highly expect three strikers in that final squad. Beyond Ferreira who is still scoring goals it’s Pepi, Wright, Pefok, Vasquez, Ebobissie, Dike , Sargent all vying for those striker spots. And I would even put Morris more at making the team as a striker versus as a winger.

      • 2tone,

        “Pepi, Wright, Pefok, Vasquez, Ebobissie, Dike , Sargent all vying for those striker spots.”

        “Vying” is a little strong. Right now, all of them have a lot of ground to cover to get to Qatar

        Why would Berhalter take three strikers?

        This is the same manager who regularly took 26 when he could have taken up to 30 players. Remember? And there may be other areas that need more cover. But it’s still too early to know.

        When everyone was worried about the striker position it was because no one was scoring goals.

        Then Ferriera emerged after scoring 4 against the JV’s.
        It was assumed that Ferriera, along with whoever of the guys on your list got hot in the fall would go to Qatar. The only reason why he might take more than 2 strikers is if more than one of those listed candidates got hot.

        Ferreira is a lock unless he goes stone cold between now and selection time.

        Let’s say Josh, Pepi and Pefok get hot

        Pefok and Ferreira make sense because they are stylistically different enough to pair up or to lead different styles of attack if they are alone.

        Josh and Pepi are too similar to Ferreira so they might not play a minute. Gregg show shown an aversion to having redundant players around.

        Regardless, for the striker candidates, getting really hot is their best bet for inclusion. Expansion to 26 probably won’t really help them that much, especially when you consider that, for a game or two, Weah, Pulisic and Gio can all play forward arguably better than any of those striker candidates.

      • Vacqui, I think what hurts Pefok is he’s too tactically different. The defensive set up and the offensive patterns have to change completely when Pefok comes on. I think Gregg really thought Wright could be a combo of a target striker but still press and combine offensively but didn’t show it against ES and that’s why he kind of called out Haji post match. So that leaves Pepi as the most likely target for direct play if needed, with Dike as the one with the chance to jump in if he starts the season hot. I think it’s Pepi, Ferreira, and either Vazquez, Dike, or Sargent.

      • JRazor,

        When two forwards were more common you often saw a “big guy” and a “little guy”.

        None of our guys are really perfect examples but Pefok is basically a “big guy”. The best thing about him is he stays in the box and is hard to move out. He’s a blunt instrument.

        I take him because that kind of guy can be a handy change of pace.

        Berhalter probably won’t take him because Gregg loves the idea that a player succeeds because of his ability to execute Gregg’s tactics and schemes. Gregg is something of a snob in that way.

        Pefok isn’t particularly interesting tactically. He’s a kitchen sink kind of guy.

        It would be different if he was a “talented big guy” , like Zlatan. But he’s not. He’s just a sledge hammer. Pepi is the closest thing we have to a Zlatan type.

        I agree that it’s Ferreira and Pepi.

        But I don’t think he takes any other striker, unless someone gets RED hot.

        As I said, Pulisic, Weah and Gio can all play forward probably better than Pepi and Ferreira and all the other candidates. Why waste the spots on guys who suck?

        And don’t talk to me about developing someone for 2026. That’s just BS. 2022 may be the one and only World Cup for all concerned. They better take it seriously.

        I think Berhalter will stock up on midfielder/defender types.

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