It was a good weekend for young Americans abroad with Christian Pulisic, DeAndre Yedlin, and Emerson Hyndman all seeing the field and making an impact for their clubs.
With the Bundesliga’s Winterpause finally over Pulisic started in Borussia Dortmund’s 2-1 win over Werder Bremen. The Hershey, Pennsylvania product did not find his way onto the scoresheet but Pulisic looked dangerous on a couple of his trademark runs at the Bremen defense, creating havoc and bring the crowd to its feet.
Then with Saturday’s win out of the way, Pulisic and BVB agreed to extend the 18-year old’s contract until June 2020. The move seemed likely all along and it is difficult to imagine a better place for any talented young player to develop than at BVB where Thomas Tuchel has shown no hesitation to put his trust in his coterie of talented youngsters.
Teams like Liverpool have expressed interest in Pulisic and while this extension doesn’t prohibit a move before 2020, it ensures a bigger payday for the German club if a transfer does go through.
When Emerson Hyndman spoke to GotSoccer last May in Miami the young midfielder was contemplating his next career move and he told us then that playing time would play a big part in influencing his decision.
But after deciding on Bournemouth, a preseason injury disrupted Hyndman’s plans and he never broke into Eddie Howe’s English Premier League side necessitating a loan move to Glasgow Rangers.
Hyndman made his debut in Rangers 2-1 Scottish Cup win over Motherwell on Saturday, popping up off of the bench in the 72nd minute and contributing the game-winning assist just minutes later.
Hyndman’s vision and passing ability are what originally put the 20-year-old Texan on the radar of huge clubs like Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan and Rangers rival Celtic, and Saturday’s defense splitting assist was a tantalizing reminder of that promise.
Rangers has been home to several Americans over the years, players like Claudio Reyna, Maurice Edu, and DaMarcus Beasley, and Hyndman is looking at this Scottish excursion as a chance to jumpstart his stalled career.
That may seem a bit extreme for a 20-year-old but prospect status can become a millstone if success doesn’t come quickly enough, a sometimes ugly aspect of the beautiful game. As Hyndman told GotSoccer last May, “I’m 20 years old now, I’m not 18 anymore.” “I’m moving on,” Hyndman said then with a small chuckle, “into big boy years.”
Although a bit older than the other two players on this list, at 23 DeAndre Yedlin is still a young man, it just feels like he has been around forever.
And Yedlin has been through a lot since breaking into the mainstream with a standout performance at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Yedlin parlayed that good run in Brazil into a contract with Tottenham but like Hyndman found out this season, nothing is guaranteed in the Premier League.
But the former Seattle Sounders Homegrown signing proved he could do the defensive work needed at fullback in the PL while on loan with relegation escapees Sunderland.
When the loan to Sunderland expired Yedlin and Tottenham decided to part ways with the speedster accepting a deal with Newcastle, a club that could not avoid the drop. With Newcastle spending all of the 2016-17 season thus far in first or second place in England’s second flight Yedlin has flourished under Rafa Benitez.
Yedlin has become a regular in Benetiz’ squad rotation and had perhaps his best match of the campaign this weekend when he notched two assists in The Magpies 4-0 victory over Rotherham, earning a spot on the Championship Team of the Week and praise as the “best fullback in the Championship” from Sky Sports analyst Peter Beagrie.
With Newcastle on track for promotion, Seattle’s own looks set to return to the Premier League as an important piece of the Magpies puzzle, a development that U.S. manager Bruce Arena is surely well aware of.