Josh Sargent on Picking Werder Bremen and His Hot Start to Life in the Bundesliga
On the latest Planet Fútbol Podcast, SI.com interviews 18-year-old U.S. men's national team forward Josh Sargent about his hot start at Germany's Werder Bremen—and then U.S. investor Jordan Gardner about his plans to buy a club in Denmark and use it to develop young Americans.
Sargent has two goals in his first three appearances with Werder Bremen's first team, making the most of his early opportunities after scoring seven goals in 12 games with Werder Bremen II in Germany's fourth tier, and it's those opportunities that he sought when signing with the club over some more high-profile suitors, as he explains.
You can listen to the full episode in the podcast console below and subscribe to and download the Planet Fútbol Podcast on iTunes. Recent guests include U.S. midfielder Tyler Adams, The Ringer's Bill Simmons, ESPN's Katie Nolan, former U.S. women's national team forward Abby Wambach and former U.S. men's forward Eddie Johnson.
Here some of the highlights of the conversation with Sargent:
On why he chose to sign with Werder Bremen and declined offers from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund:
“At the end of the day I wanted to play for a club where I could get playing time. I visited clubs, and I had a really good feeling about Bremen and the coaching staff and everyone there. So I went with my gut, and I'm glad I made the decision.”
On scoring on his first touch of the ball in his debut for Werder Bremen in early December:
“I didn't know if I was going to come in or not. And then the coach called me over, and I started getting nervous but at the same time very excited, because it's what you dream of as a kid. They called my name, and I was coming in and all the fans were really cool about it. And scoring on my first touch only made everything twice as good. It was a dream debut.”
On what he has learned so far about the way the game is played in the Bundesliga:
“It's definitely a very fast tempo. There’s a huge difference going from the fourth division in Germany to the first league. So you have to be thinking every second of the game. And it's much more physical and faster players so everything is increased in pace.”
On the most important aspects of his development in the U.S., which started at the Scott Gallagher club in St. Louis and continued at the U.S. Soccer residency program in Florida:
“I'd say at the beginning definitely playing a couple years up with Gallagher in St Louis. It definitely pushes you and makes you think differently about the game. But I think the best thing that has happened to me is honestly residency. When I was down there for the two years I was there I could see myself improving tremendously.”