The United States men's national team is blessed with young talent, especially at right back, but it feels like before long a new, rising star will be in the mix. It's almost Joe Scally time. The former NYCFC man, now at Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany, has been one of the pleasant surprises in the Bundesliga so far this season. A native of New York, he's come in and made a massive impact for his team, much earlier than expected, as the club looks to return to European competition.
"My goal was, this season, to just be on the roster ... keep progressing," Scally said in an exclusive interview with CBS Sports.
But Scally, just 18 years of age, has cemented himself as a starter with the club sitting mid table. Here's a look at how he's performed so far:
Joe Scally's stats
- Ten games and 891 minutes played (Tied for first in most games played and third in minutes)
- 82.1 pass percentage
- 753 touches (second on team)
- 12 chances created (fourth on team)
- 1.57 expected assists (second on team)
- 1 goal
- 48.1 percent tackle success
- 55.5 percent duel success
- 60 percent aerial success
- 49 recoveries (second on the team)
The moment he knew he made it
Right out of the gate, Scally started 90 minutes in the season-opening draw against Bayern Munich, holding his own against the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller and others. He also got to face Leroy Sane, one of his favorite players who he actually met and took a picture with when Sane was with Manchester City and they visited sister club NYCFC, where Scally began his career.
Going up against the legendary Bavarians in his first pro minutes abroad was something he will never forget, but for one reason in particular.
"I went into a tackle with Lewandowski and he stepped on my foot. And the whole crowd starting chanting my name. It was crazy. It was sick," Scally said.
"Of course I was so nervous. But, it was great. It was a great game and was able to show what I could do.
"To be playing against these guys, to be going up against Sane one-on-one the whole game, it was crazy."
Wanting a chance with USA
Scally wont hide it. What he wants most is to play for the U.S. at a World Cup, and he doesn't want to have to wait till 2026. Part of that is just the competitor in him, but he knows there is a window to join sooner as this national team led by Gregg Berhalter hasn't been shy to call up young, inexperienced players.
And there is a reason for him to be excited about the minutes that could be coming his way. While some may think the right back position is locked up due to Sergino Dest's play, Dest has been much better going forward than defending, and there may just be a chance to see him move higher up the field. In recent weeks with Barcelona Dest has moved to right wing including an influential performance against Valencia where provided an assist to Philippe Coutinho in a 3-1 win. With so many injuries for the USMNT, and with Gio Reyna likely out for those November qualifiers, Dest playing higher up and Scally at right back seems logical.
Though if Reyna's absence is the reason Scally gets called in, it would certainly cause mixed emotions. Part of what has made the move to Germany go so smoothly for the young American is having his best friend Reyna close by at Borussia Dortmund. The two are in touch usually daily and see each other weekly. Scally said they usually head over to Dusseldorf to a Chinese restaurant they really enjoy and that Reyna has helped him settle in, learn the ropes to life in Germany and more.
They were teammate as youth players, they are close by in Germany, and before long, they figure to be teammates again, this time with the USMNT.
Scally just wants to play, and he's focused on performing well to convince the coaches he deserves it. He's been tracking the team's progression and is eager to be involved.
"I thought against Jamaica it was a good performance," Scally said. "But then I woke up, saw the result against Panama and knew it wasn't the best result, but still second in the table."
"[Berhalter and I were] in contact before last camp. He was just telling me he I'm a young player. He likes what he sees with me and thinks I have a real future with the national team.
"Hopefully I get called into the next one or the [one after]."
Scally knows there is only so much he can control, but he is just aiming to train the best that he can, show up on game days and make sure the effort and execution are there. He's hoping the rest will take care of of itself, and if he is in the national team's plans, then great.
"I want to play in the World Cup. This is everyone's goal when they start playing soccer ... I want to be in the World Cup in 2022."
But for now, he has his own plan.
"I want to just keeping living in the moment," Scally said.
2021 USMNT game jerseys now available
Get the latest USMNT kits. Buy home and away gear, plus shirts, cornhole kits, hoodies, tracksuits, and more. Shop here and show your pride for the U.S. team.
We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.