The emerging talent of youth players across North America could be leading towards a significant increase in attention by the big European clubs - lead by none other than Bayern Munich.
Bayern has been building a presence in the United States for the last several years. At the forefront of the effort are their offices in New York City that focus primarily on building a fan base by using real-time marketing and social media. The official home of FC Bayern US on Twitter has 155,000 followers and has posted almost 60,000 tweets since its inception in January, 2015.
Bayern’s meticulous plan for North America is now coming to fruition. Build the fan base - check. Understand the youth structure - check. Partner with a Major League Soccer club that has, historically speaking, one of the best academies - check.
Now Bayern has taken the next step and is actually bringing in players either on trial or with actual signings. Although this new wave of players heading to Munich - remember Julian Green played for Bayern youth teams as far back as 2012. Even though that signing didn’t work out it may have helped to pave the road for Bayern’s philosophy on American players.
Trialists offer a low risk option with a potential for high reward. In the last few weeks Bayern has been linked with at least three American teenagers coming to Munich for trials. That is in addition to Chris Richards, who is already there on loan from FC Dallas. The trialists include Ulysses Llanez of the LA Galaxy Academy and Cameron Duke of the Sporting Kansas City Academy who went over to Munich on a supposed secret trial.
Cameron Duke and Uly Llanez. Iiiiinteresting https://t.co/dgkHZafcHl— Charles Boehm (@cboehm) July 20, 2018
There is also Christian Cappis of the FC Dallas Academy trialing this week.
Alphonso Davies to Bayern Munich is a done deal. Fee is around 13 million euros with substantial add ons that could make the entire package worth a record $20 million. Davies will remain with the Whitecaps for the rest of the season.— Kristian Jack (@KristianJack) July 24, 2018
Davies is Canadian but his purchase solidifies that Bayern has made a major commitment to the North American market.
The moves that Bayern Munich have made in North America are not unprecedented in the Bundesliga, the league that has taken the most interest in young American talent. The big three at this point are Christian Pulisic at Dortmund, Weston McKennie at Schalke, and Josh Sargent at Werder Bremen.
Bayern saw what their rivals were doing and are simply taking their plan to the next level. Their fanbase in the United States is growing at an remarkable rate. With the signing of Davies now the Canadians will surely be watching. Bayern is looking for American players as it sees that that talent pool is there and every teenager in the States would dream of moving to such an elite club. If Bayern can find even one American that breaks into the first team over the next few years then their fanbase, and the revenue that goes with it, will explode. The talent is available and Bayern has their new Säbener Straße training facility where they can mold players and make them their own.
Now that a top-five club like Bayern Munich has made the investment in North America there will surely be other clubs looking to do the same. Many others have already started to varying degrees.
Barcelona has an office in New York City and an actual Development Academy team of their own. Most of the Bundesliga teams have English social media accounts. Roma has none other than US Soccer legend Mia Hamm pitching the club:
“As someone who spent their youth living in both the U.S. and Italy, there’s a personal satisfaction that comes with seeing Roma investing significant resources to player development in the States. There’s a lot of talent here – and it’s great that the club continues to recognize that.”
Mia Hamm, AS Roma Board Member
However, Bayern Munich has been taking all the right steps to becoming the European leader in North America as far as marketing and player acquisition. It’s not unusual for Bayern to watch the philosophies of their fiercest German rivals and one up them by using their superior resources.
The genie appears to be be out of the bottle as far as North American young soccer talent is concerned. Now that Bayern has made their move others will be sure to follow.