Young Americans Abroad: First team debut

by Travis Clark
November 2, 2020
Young Americans Abroad: First team debut

Each week, TopDrawerSoccer highlights the top young Americans looking to breakthrough at pro teams around Europe. Players competing on first team squads won’t be covered.

Is Richie Ledezma’s time on these pages coming to an end?

The U.S. Under-20 men’s national team veteran made his long-awaited first-team debut in Eredivisie action over the weekend, entering the game for PSV Eindhoven in a 4-0 win over ADO Den Haag.

Ledezma subbed into the game in the 74th minute, earning his first look from the bench after making the squad on a handful of other of occasions.

The attacking midfielder didn’t look too out of place, and technically picked up an assist when a teammate lashed home an impressive shot from distance. He completed 94% of 17 pass attempts as PSV scored twice more when he was on the field. With a potential U.S. men’s national team friendly looming on November 12 – pandemic permitting – Ledezma picked a perfect time to finally get his debut.

Part of the reason Ledezma was able to get the call was due to a breakout of COVID-19 in the squad, forcing several changes.

Hoppe gets first goal for Schalke U23s

Entering the game for fellow American Nick Taitague in the 65th minute of Schalke II’s 1-1 draw with Rot-Weiss Essen, Matthew Hoppe got his first goal for the Under-23s, a poacher’s effort in the 87th minute. It was a game with three Yanks, as forward Isaiah Young started and played 75 minutes for Essen.

Defender Christopher Richards remained in the picture for Bayern Munich II, starting and playing the full 90 minutes in a 4-2 win against Wehen SV. Fellow U.S. youth veteran Taylor Booth was in the squad but didn’t play for FCB II.

With the Coronavirus on the rise in Germany, it remains to be seen how long games in the lower division or at the youth levels will be able to continue as the country looks to slow the spread.

Imperato begins Spanish season

The A Juvenil season started for Jack Imperato, who signed a pro contract with Villlarreal CF last week. Imperato came off the bench in the 77th minute in his side’s 2-0 win against CD Roda, the club where he spent part of the 2019-20 season on loan.

Forward Konrad de la Fuente, who continues to toe the line between the Barcelona first team and B team, started and played 90 minutes for the latter over the weekend.

U.S. players offer depth in England

Matteo Ritaccio was an injury time substitute for Liverpool U23s, coming on in the 91st minute of a 1-0 win against Arsenal.

Midfielder Zach Booth entered from the bench at halftime for Leicester City Under-18s, which fell by a lopsided 7-1 score.

All stats cited courtesy of InStat Football.