Jurgen Klinsmann & Danny Williams on why so many USMNT players succeed in Germany

Chris Smith
Reyna is just one of many American success stories in Germany.
Reyna is just one of many American success stories in Germany. / Lars Baron/GettyImages

Germany has long been a breeding ground for American players, but why do so many success stories from across the pond begin their European adventure there?

The United States men's national team's biggest stars first trained in the Bundesliga before making their jump elsewhere, from Christian Pulisic to Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams. Giovanni Reyna, meanwhile, is continuing his rapid rise with Borussia Dortmund.

This is nothing new, with the likes of Landon Donovan and Fabian Johnson all using the German top-flight to kick-start successful careers at both club and international levels.

So, is it the similarities in culture between the United States and Germany that makes it such an attractive destination, the style of play, or something else?

"I think culture-wise, Germany and the US are very similar. They're two countries that are full of 'doers'. They don't want to wait for the other nations, they're just doing their thing. America is doing its own thing and Germans just like to go ahead and do their thing," former USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann told 90min.

"The German culture is very open to young talent coming in and giving it a shot, try it out, see how far you can take it. And if it doesn't work, you can still go back home, no problem at all. The Bundesliga is known for giving young players chances. 17, 18, 19 years of age. If you're good, that's all it takes, the coach will throw you into the cold water and you've got to swim, and if the water is too cold, no problem, we can slow down the process."

As a former US international who was born and raised in Germany, Danny Williams has experienced the pathway between the two countries better than most. The 33-year-old midfielder got his break at Freiburg back in 2010 and also went on to represent Hoffenheim before playing in England with Reading and Huddersfield Town.

He echoed Klinsmann's sentiments regarding Germany's willingness to give youth a try, owing - in his opinion - to the country's much smaller ownership model when compared to clubs in the Premier League.

"I think Germany is one of the best places to develop as a young player because most of the clubs don't have big owners and there isn't as much money around like at Chelsea, Arsenal, or Tottenham," Williams told 90min.

"That's fine because they still go on and play for those clubs if they succeed in Germany. The tactical and technical education is very good in Germany. I was fortunate enough to go through my youth in these academies and what you learn there is amazing. What I really like about Bundesliga is these young guys are given a chance and they're trusted by the coach to make the step into the first team, have game time, and not come and be replaced by a superstar if you don't perform in one or two games, like at Man Utd. They're a bit more patient with you."

Across his time in charge of the USMNT and as head coach of multiple Bundesliga outfits, including Bayern Munich, Klinsmann has seen first-hand just how players can excel in Germany, with so many American stars across Europe owing their success to the country.

"I think over decades now, the Bundesliga has proven that model, that's why a lot of young players give it a shot," Klinsmann added.

"It's just wonderful to see so many American players fight their way through it. Maybe they end up in another league but at the end of the day, they have their starting point in the Bundesliga where they become really good, especially if you're talking about players like Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, or Tyler Adams. It's a calibre of player that's rare to have so many of them in the United States."

Klinsmann and Williams spoke to 90min at the 'Bundesliga Common Ground Project Event' in NYC. For information and more from Williams and Klinsmann, check out our latest our article here and more of our video content from the event on our Twitter and Instagram.