The January transfer window is set to close in a few days and the news keeps rolling in regarding Americans. This week stood out mostly because a young American made his debut in a top 5 league while many others struggled to get on the field.
Tyler Adams - Central Midfielder, RB Leipzig
Adams earned his full Bundesliga debut on Sunday against Alfredo Morales and Fortuna Düsseldorf. The 19-year-old got off to a very strong start in the game, breaking up multiple attacks and helping Leipzig suffocate Düsseldorf with their pressure. Leipzig dominated the first 20 minutes, racing out to a 3-0 lead. With the game well out of hand, Leipzig sat back and dared Düsseldorf to build from the back, but their opponents were unable to do so. They added a fourth in the second half and the 4-0 win has Leipzig in fourth place in the Bundesliga. Adams looked very sharp and comfortable defensively. When he had the ball at his feet, he was a tad inconsistent with his passing. What I really liked was his willingness to push the ball into dangerous areas rather than always making the safe play. He’ll have to improve his consistency, but it was a great start. Congratulations to the young man.
Chris Richards - Centerback, Bayern Munich
Richards was officially announced by Bayern Munich this week. FC Dallas sold the 18-year-old for $1.5 million with a 40% sell-on clause. His deal with the German giants ties him to the club through 2023. Richards has featured regularly all season for Bayern’s U-19’s. We’ll see if a move up to the U-23’s or loan is in the near future. Regardless, it’s a great moment for the young man who could be a starter for the US this summer at the U-20 World Cup (if he’s released).
Raphael Iacovelli - Central Midfielder, Calcio Padova
Iacovelli is on the move again. After leaving Cesena for Carpi this past summer, the 18-year-old is moving to Serie B club Calcio Padova. After playing sparingly in the fall for Carpi’s U-19’s, he is undoubtedly trying to find a better situation where he can continue to develop. It’s been a bit of a rough go for this young man, but let’s hope he can reignite his young career.
Andrija Novakovich - Striker, Reading FC (On Loan at Fortuna Sittard)
Novakovich had a good performance this week in a losing effort. On Wednesday, the 22-year-old started against Feyenoord in the Dutch Cup. With Sittard trailing 1-0 just after halftime, Novakovich made a long run from midfield. Novakovich cut back to lose the defender and calmly slotted it past the keeper to level the score.
Andrija Novakovich's equalizing goal vs Feyenoord. What a goal pic.twitter.com/UII96azonk— USMNT Videos (@USMNTvideos) January 23, 2019
Fortuna Sittard would go on to lose and get knocked out of the competition. This was his fifth goal in all competitions this season. On Sunday, Novakovich started again in league play against Vitesse. While he didn’t get on the scoresheet, it was another decent performance in a 2-1 win. He had been through a bit of a slump recently, but it looks like he’s finding his form again. He will need a strong second half of the season to grab Gregg Berhalter’s attention ahead of the Gold Cup.
Timothy Weah - Winger/Striker, Paris St. Germain (On Loan at Celtic FC)
Weah started on the bench again in Celtic’s midweek match. In the 64th minute, the 18-year-old made his Scottish Premiership league debut. In the 86th minute, Weah found the back of the net for the second time in as many matches.
Celtic would dominate in a 4-0 win. On Saturday, Weah earned his first start. He had a golden chance after forcing a mistake in the back but his 1v1 with the keeper was saved. Weah was pulled after 63 minutes and a relatively quiet performance. We’ll see if he can stay in the starting lineup or at least stay in consistent rotation as they close in on the Europa League knockout round in a couple weeks.
CJ Dos Santos - Goalkeeper, SL Benfica
Dos Santos has been regularly playing at the Junior level in Benfica’s Academy this season and is looking to push his way up the ranks. This weekend, Dos Santos appeared on the bench for their B club as they competed in the U23 Premier League International Cup against Bayern Munich. The 18-year-old faces a tall task to get in to the first team picture there, but it’s impressive that he continues to climb the ladder.
Juan Pablo Torres - Central Midfielder, New York City FC
Torres has completed a permanent move to return to the USA. The 19-year-old Colombian American midfielder had struggled to see the field at KSC Lokeren since his move in the summer of 2017. Torres recently played pretty well at the U-20 Concacaf Championship and now will be looking to break in at NYCFC. Depending on how that goes and how his competition comes along this spring could determine whether he will take part in the U-20 World Cup this summer.
Justin Haak - Central Midfielder, New York City FC
Haak has signed a homegrown deal with New York City FC. The 17-year-old was impressive in last year’s DA playoffs as he helped their academy lift the trophy over an LA Galaxy team that featured Alex Mendez, Ulysses Llanez and Efrain Alvarez. Haak is a deep-lying playmaker with a propensity to cut out attacks from the opposition and start the attack going the other direction. He’s a good ball-winner and a decent passer as well. NYCFC is creating a monopoly on young American central midfielders. Along with Torres, Keaton Parks signed earlier this month to go along with James Sands. Let’s wish Haak the best of luck as he gets his professional career underway.
Cade Cowell - Striker, San Jose Earthquakes
Cowell became the youngest homegrown signing in franchise history this week. The 15-year-old featured for San Jose’s U-17’s and at times at the U-19 level. San Jose has quite a relationship building with local Development Academy Ballistic United. Cowell is the third homegrown signing that has come through that academy, joining Gilber Fuentes and Jacob Akanyirige. Cowell has represented the US at several youth levels already. Good luck!
As always, hit the comment section to let me know if there’s anything major I overlooked or if there’s anyone you’d like to hear about.