Winger McKinze Gaines signed with Darmstadt from Wolfsburg yesterday. The USYNT speedster was an important member of the Wolfsburg U-19 squad that reached the semifinal of the German championship last season where he made 24 appearances and played over 1,800 minutes with 7 goals and 9 assists. ESPN reports that the contract is for three years with Wolfsburg securing a buyout clause. Gaines also played alongside Christian Pulisic on the United States U-17 side during the 2015 CONCACAF Championship, although he was not selected to the 2015 U-17 World Cup squad. He signed with Wolfsburg shortly thereafter upon reaching his 18th birthday in March, 2016.
Darmstadt struggled last season finishing seven points adrift in the basement of the Bundesliga. They had, statistically speaking, the worst attack and second-worst defense in the league. That still did not deter Gaines as he hopes to secure first team minutes.
The head coach of Darmstadt, Torsten Frings, said of Gaines, “We are delighted to have convinced such a talented player to join us, [Gaines] has a lot of pace, and he left a great impression during the past under-19 Bundesliga season."
Gaines is joining fellow US international Terrence Boyd in the squad. Boyd will have his own battle for minutes with new signing Jaime MacLaren coming in from the Brisbane Roar in Australia. Nevertheless, Boyd found a few minutes to welcome Gaines to the club.
Darmstadt has already started its preseason by dismantling amateur side SG Modau earlier today by a final score of 8-0. Looks like the American duo is off to an excellent start as as Gaines scored one that was assisted by Boyd and returned the favor to Boyd for three of his goals. The club seemed delighted by the combination and sent out this pro-American tweet: