Werder Bremen starlet and USMNT striker Josh Sargent sat down with Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl on his Planet Fútbol podcast. Sargent talked over life in the Bundesliga, his development, and a wide range of soccer-related topics.
One of the interesting tidbits to emerge from the conversation was how the Missouri native ended up at Werder Bremen. Wahl cited a report by Taylor Twellman that said Sagrent had selected Die Werderaner over some of the Bundesliga’s traditional powers. Sargent then candidly described his thought process in choosing Werder Bremen over Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund, explaining why playing time was crucial to his final decision:
At the end of the day I wanted to go to a club where I’ll get playing time and that had a good coach. 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.
Sargent’s immense talent and scoring touch has served him well so far for Werder Bremen. The talented forward is considered one of the great hopes for United States soccer and has shown an innate ability to put the ball in the net no matter how large the stage.
Sargent has two goals in three appearances for Werder and has the unique distinction of having scored both in his national team debut and in his first team debut with Weder Bremen. In fact, Sargent scored on his first touch for Werder. He described the moment:
I didn’t know if I was going to go in or not and when the coach called me over I started getting nervous, but at the same time very excited. When they called me in the fans were very cool about it and scoring on my first touch made everything twice as good.
When asked about adjusting to life in the Bundesliga, Sargent noted what he saw as the major differences between the first division and his work with Werder Bremen’s reserve team.
Definitely a very fast tempo. There is a huge difference going from the fourth league in Germany to the first league, so you have to be thinking every second of the game. It’s much more physical and there are faster players, so everything is just increased in pace.
Off the field, Sargent has tried to acclimate himself to German culture as much as possible, but he has had some help along the way.
Right now there is another American at the club playing for the second team, Isaiah Young, and we’re pretty good friends. I’m taking German classes and my girlfriend is over there right now so everything is coming together really well.
Wahl also asked Sargent about how he handled the wait on being called up to the first team. Sargent’s honesty about the situation was refreshing as he talked through his range of emotions.
Of course it was a little frustrating for myself just knowing that I was doing well and that I could be with the first team, but I know I had a lot of guys ahead of me that were older and more experienced.
When asked about where he might fit into the Werder Bremen rotation moving forward, Sargent is exercising a faith in the coaches and front office to make the best decision for his development.
We haven’t talked about that yet, and I’m assuming that whatever happens, happens. If they think I’m ready and I can be in the lineup, I’ll be ready, but if they think I need time, then I’ll keep working as hard as I can.
Sargent gained that work ethic as a youngster in Missouri, but the 18-year-old indicated that his youth development was bolstered by a stay in the United States national team residency program.
I think the best thing that happened to me was residency. Over the two years I was there I could see myself improving tremendously, so I have to say that was one of the best things that happened to my career.
Aside of his amazing skill and work ethic, Sargent appears to be remarkably grounded. If he is to become a cornerstone of America’s future World Cup hopes, then he is in a tremendous place to help reach his potential with Werder Bremen.
A link to the full podcast can be found below.
New pod: 18-year-old USMNT forward @joshsargent on his hot start at Werder Bremen (and why he turned down Bayern Munich & Dortmund) and investor @mrjordangardner on his plan to buy a Danish club and develop young Americans there (subscribe, rate, review) https://t.co/wZK3AnZBLr— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) January 3, 2019
Quotes taken from Grant Wahl’s Planet Fútbol podcast.