The recent transfer news about one of United States’ brightest stars, Weston McKennie, has flooded the Internet and the soccer community. McKennie completed a big move to Italian giant Juventus, and this transfer is a win for United States soccer and should be celebrated. It’s amazing to see talented U.S. players being recognized, and hopefully, McKennie will have a successful run.
Despite the significant transfer, it’s clear that McKennie may not be the first option to start, let alone get minutes that a starter would get. With the likes of Bentancur, Arthur, Ramsey, and Rabiot all in the midfield, it will be difficult for the 22-year old to secure a spot on the starting 11. However, McKennie is still young, and he has a lot of time to grow. With coach Andrea Pirlo, who is regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation, McKennie will have all the tools to grow as a player and mature to a level that could see him reach super-star status.
While he may not start in every game, we cannot deny this young athlete’s talent. McKennie does not have huge stats, but statistics alone don’t define a player’s true ability. McKennie’s strengths, including winning the ball back, driving forward with the ball, and his aerial threat, are essential qualities for a central midfielder. Juventus has struggled in this department, and with Blaise Matuidi leaving the club, they need players that can win the ball.McKenney’s immediate strengths may not earn him a spot in every game, but he can add depth and can be a useful asset in situations where that little bit of hustle can change the game.
Whenever a big club signs a new player who has yet to establish himself, there will always be critics and doubters about the player’s ability to succeed. McKennie’s situation was no different. However, the midfielder has shown that he is a tough player, and he loves to fight. He understands the pressures of signing on to such an elusive club. McKennie craves a challenge, and with his mental strength, his willingness to learn, as well as his physical talent, he may surprise the Juventus fans and naysayers.
McKennie’s story is just another example of what is needed to make it to the professional level. The mental strength he brings along with his story is something aspiring athletes should look up to. There is often an unspoken hurdle that a player from the United States can only excel in the MLS, but McKennie’s story shows that with hard work, a strong work ethic, and the determination to succeed, anything is possible.