Josh Sargent has begun his 3rd season on the first team at Werder Bremen, and fans of the United States Men’s National Team hope this is the year where he can have a breakthrough season on the club and international level. Recently, the 20-year-old striker sat down with the Bundesliga to give his thoughts on life in Germany and his time so far with Die Werderaner.
Bremen was in danger of making the drop to the 2. Bundesliga, escaping in the promotion playoffs against FC Heidenheim on away goals. Sargent mentioned that the restart of the Bundesliga after the coronavirus pandemic hiatus made for a challenging and stressful time:
“Towards the end of the season, obviously we had a lot of games, two games a week, so at the weekend, Wednesday, weekend, Wednesday. Of course it was different to what we’re used to, it was mentally challenging for us as well. We knew we had to fight for every single game. If you take a second off in the game, if you switch off, something bad could happen and it could ruin our chances of staying up. We all knew what we had to do, we all knew we had to fight until the end and that’s what we did.”
Still, Bremen was able to remain in the top flight, and Sargent is very optimistic about their chances to do well this season. “Of course we don’t want to repeat last year,” Sargent declared. “[If] we can get a good start with a few wins at the beginning of the season, it will get us into a good rhythm and from there hopefully the season will take off and put us in a good position.”
Now, Josh Sargent is in the early part of the new season with a renewed focus on doing well for his club. Part of that job includes scoring goals on a regular basis, and he hopes to be a leader for Werder Bremen in that department. “It should be any striker’s goal to be the top goal scorer, whatever team you’re in,” Sargent added. “If you’re not shooting for the highest then there’s not really any point, that’s just how my mindset is.” He’s proud to have the confidence of Werder Bremen manager Florian Kohfeldt, and he believes that if he keeps putting in the work, “good things will happen.”
Being in Germany for a couple of years now, while he feels like he’s settled into life in the Bundesliga, he does miss the United States. “I would say I miss the overall culture....[it’s] not that I don’t like it over here, it’s just that I grew up there my whole life and I miss it very much.” Still, the number of Americans that have come to Germany to play professional soccer has helped him as well.
“[You] can see the Bundesliga is a good pathway,” Sargent said about the league that has helped turn players like Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, and Sargent into stars. “I think it’s kind of an eye opener for a lot of [American players], they see that we can do it over here and it’s making them more confident in themselves that they can come over and do it as well.” Sargent mentions that he enjoys playing the other Americans in the Bundesliga and that he’s very close with the USMNT players who are playing over in Europe: “I think almost every day, it’s not always a full conversation, maybe just a Snapchat or something but we’re always keeping in touch.”
Not everything about his path to becoming a regular feature in the Werder Bremen lineup was easy. “The language, the new culture and also the football side of things” were things Josh Sargent said were difficult at first. “I wasn’t the top guy any more, I was coming in from the bottom and had to prove myself. It was very challenging of course but, like I always say, working as hard as you can can always get you through the hard times and show people that you want to belong here.”
He’s certainly proved he belonged in the Bundesliga, and he’s ready to take his to the next level. And, he’s looking to his biggest idol that is seeking to bring home another title: LeBron James. “I know he’s probably a lot of people’s go-to person but the example he sets for the younger generation is amazing with his work rate but also how he is off the field, he’s just a great guy.” He even admits that he didn’t watch a lot of soccer growing up (“I think I thought it was pretty boring actually!”), but he’s clearly taking the things he’s learning from one of the sports greats and applying it to the challenge before him in the Bundesliga.
Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen, who currently have 6 points from their first 3 matches, return from the international break with a match next weekend against Freiburg. And hopefully, next month the USMNT will be playing and we will see Josh Sargent on the roster for that camp.