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12 USMNT players to feature in the 2021/22 Champions League

UEFA Champions League

The Group Stage of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League gets underway in just a couple of weeks, kicking off a nine-month campaign where the sport’s biggest names will battle it out to get their hands on the most prestigious prize in club football.

Among their number, this year, will be a collection of American players hoping to perform at the pinnacle of the European game.

Last season, poster-boy Christian Pulisic made history as the first U.S. national team player to appear in and win a UEFA Champions League final and this term, a record-breaking 12 American players in total will compete in the Group Stage of the tournament.

Below, you can find an A-Z of the U.S players that should see action in the first phase of the 2021/22 Champions League.

Brenden Aaronson

Age: 20

Position: FW/MF

Club: RB Salzburg

New-Jersey born hotshot Aaronson, known as “the Medford Messi” for his silky close control, joined Austrian giants RB Salzburg from sister club New York Red Bulls in January after Die Roten Bullen splashed out the highest ever transfer fee paid for an American homegrown player from MLS ($6m rising to $9m) to bring the 20-year-old to Europe. Aaronson will get to test his skills against Sevilla, Lille and Wolfsburg this season.

Tyler Adams

Age: 22

Position: MF

Club: RB Leipzig

Another Red Bull academy graduate from New York, versatile performer Adams has been in the German Bundesliga with RB Leipzig since 2019. The 22-year-old has already made several appearances in the Champions League and Adams will hope to gather more experience in the competition this season in a tough group Leipzig shares with PSG and Manchester City.

John Brooks

Age: 28

Position: DF

Club: VfL Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg are back in the Champions League Group Stage for the first time since 2016 and physically imposing defender John Brooks will be flying the flag for the U.S.A in a group the Germans share alongside Lille, Sevilla and RB Salzburg. The 28-year-old has never played a Champions League fixture before.

Sergino Dest

Age: 20

Position: DF

Club: FC Barcelona

In October last year, Sergino Dest made history when he became the first American to turn out in a Champions League fixture for Barcelona and the flying fullback is expected to feature heavily for Los Cules in this season’s competition. Barca help to make up an interesting quartet in Group E alongside Bayern Munich, Benfica and Dynamo Kiev.

Weston McKennie

Age: 22

Position: MF

Club: Juventus

All-action midfielder Weston McKennie saw plenty of action in last season’s Champions League where he made seven appearances for Juventus in the competition. The 22-year-old came close to leaving the Old Lady during the summer transfer window, though that shouldn’t stop him from being heavily involved when Juve launch their latest bid for continental glory in 2021/22.

Owen Otasowie

Age:  20

Position: MF

Club: Club Brugge

Born in New York, midfielder Owen Otasowie left Premier League side Wolves to sign for Belgians Club Brugge in the summer and the 20-year-old’s switch means a campaign in the Champions League Group stage for the first time in his career awaits. The odds look stacked against Club Brugge in Group A, however, where they could make up the numbers against Man City, PSG and RB Leipzig.

Christian Pulisic

Age: 22

Position: FW

Club: Chelsea

USMNT talisman Christian Pulisic will kick off this season’s Champions League as a previous winner and the creative midfielder will be trying his best to aid Chelsea’s title defence in 2021/22. Pulisic has been a regular in the competition since making his UCL debut in 2015 and the 22-year-old made ten appearances during the Blues’ silver-lined run to glory last term.

Gio Reyna

Age: 18

Position: MF

Club: Borussia Dortmund

Teenaged wonderkid Gio Reyna didn’t make much of a splash for Dortmund in last season’s Champions League, though the midfielder will be a year wiser in 2021/22 and he should have a far greater influence as a more battle-hardened pro. BVB should be favorites to progress from Group C where they will compete against Sporting CP, Ajax and Besiktas for the top two slots.

Chris Richards

Age: 21

Position: DF

Club: Bayern Munich

Chris Richards realized a dream when he left FC Dallas to join Bayern Munich back in 2019 and having climbed his way up through the ranks with the Bavarians, the defender is part of Julian Nagelsmann’s first-team roster in 2021/22. Richards got some UCL minutes under his belt in last year’s tournament, though he will be on the hunt for starts this time around.

Jordan Pefok Siebatcheu

Age: 25

Position: FW

Club: BSC Young Boys

Jordan Pefok Siebatcheu will make his Champions League debut this season when the Washington-born wide midfielder turns out for Swiss title holders Young Boys in Group F. Siebatcheu will be lining up against current Europa League champions Villarreal, exciting Italian side Atalanta and one of the biggest names in world football, Manchester United in the section.

Zack Steffen

Age: 26

Position: GK

Club: Manchester City

Back-up stopper Zach Steffen is Ederson’s understudy at Manchester City and the US international’s only chance of appearing in this season’s Champions League is if the Cityzens qualify for the knockout phase with games to spare or if his Brazilian counterpart picks up an injury. That combination of factors allowed Steffen to start one UCL fixture for last year’s beaten finalists.

Tim Weah

Age: 21

Position: FW

Club: LOSC Lille

Born in Brooklyn, Tim Weah left the NY Red Bulls academy for French behemoths PSG back in 2014, where he spent five seasons honing his skills before a move to Lille beckoned in 2019, offering the dynamic winger more first team opportunities. The 21-year-old will make his Champions League debut in 2021/22 for the current French champions where fixtures against Sevilla, RB Salzburg and Wolfsburg await in Group G.

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