As the rise of American talent continues, thus creating a ripple effect of European interest, here comes the latest and one of the most exciting: Brenden Aaronson -- the 19-year-old midfielder, New Jersey native from Philadelphia Union who recently announced his upcoming MLS departure in order to join Jesse Marsch and Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg when the transfer window opens again in January of 2021.
This quite simply is an amazing move for the young star, who joined the Union's academy when he was 11 years old. A fantastic opportunity beckons as the future of the USMNT and MLS-based talent continues to blossom.
The deal marks the first time one of Philly's homegrown players has been transferred to a European club, and the fee -- a reported $6 million with more in incentives -- is the highest for a United States-based homegrown player in MLS history.
For Aaronson, as excited as he is, the objective is to make an impact almost as soon as he lands. "If I am being realistic, it takes time to settle down and get to know the team, but for me, I want to be the guy that comes into the team and makes a mark right off the bat," said the teen midfielder, who spoke exclusively to CBS Sports on ¡Qué Golazo! A daily CBS soccer podcast.
He is also very excited at the thought of working with Jesse Marsh, someone who was a key reason for this move. "He was for sure a big reason why I made the decision. Jim (Curtin) is my coach and he is best friends with Jesse, and he's told me countless times how great of a guy he is, how great of a coach he is, so he played a major role in me going there and I think he's a fantastic coach and we can see what he's already done there at Salzburg," he said. "Just an amazing job in that Champions League run they did last season ... I'm truly really excited. The organization in general - I have heard so much about them developing and just being a great club in general so I think I am just extremely, extremely excited to play under him and just excited to be at the club."
In the interview, Aaronson also discusses friendships with the other American players based in Europe, his efforts already on learning German and the thought of featuring in the Champions League.
"I was talking about this the other day with my dad and I am crazy about the Champions League. And I love it so much and competitive it is, and how all the teams around getting to play against each other, it's the best of the best, and that's another dream of him, to play in the tournament," he said. "If they make it to the next round and I get to be part of the team, that would be amazing for me."
You can listen to the entire conversation right here on ¡Qué Golazo!. Make sure you leave a rating on Apple Podcasts and sign up to UCL on CBS Sports on YouTube so you can watch the episodes via video.