Americans Chris Richards and Taylor Booth both joined Bayern Munich at a young age. Richards joined as an 18-year old in 2018, while Booth joined as a 17-year old in the beginning of 2019. Richards initially arrived on loan from MLS club FC Dallas while Booth signed his three year deal with Bayern from Real Salt Lake’s academy system.
Both prospects have made their presence felt in the respective Bayern teams they currently play for; Richards for Bayern’s U-23’s and Booth for the U-19’s, though his been injured for most of the current season. Both players have also made appearances for the U.S U-19 and U-23 side, respectively. In a recent interview with Bundesliga.com, the pair of youngsters described what the challenges have been like playing in Germany as opposed to the United States. For Booth, it was the physicality and the speed of play in Germany that was the most difficult to get used to:
There are definitely a few differences [to back home]. For me the biggest thing was the physicality and speed of play. In the States we have a lot of technical players but when you get to Germany it’s a lot more intense and the speed of play’s a lot faster. It takes a few games to adapt to it, but after training and playing a few games you get used to it.
Richards touched base on the fact that in Germany, there’s more of a level playing field in terms of distribution on talented teams within the leagues that they play in:
Back in the US we used to go into most games expecting to win, but here the level is pretty much the same throughout the league. You’re not going to get a bad team at the weekend, most of the teams can play with you. That’s the biggest difference, I think.
For Richards, the level of competition has also increased within the past year, as he made the leap from Bayern’s youth levels to the U-23’s. Now, he routinely plays against players that are much older, stronger, and more physical than him. The constant challenge, though, is something he certainly relishes:
With the U23s you’re playing against grown men every weekend, so you’re playing pro football now. The speed of play is a lot different, and it’s way more physical.
Both Richards and Booth are also in contention to join a prestigious list of American players that have played for Bayern’s first team and either would become the 4th ever American to do so. Landon Donovan, Julian Green, and Wolfgang Sühnholz all achieved that feat at different points during their careers. Brothers Timothy and Malik Tillman are also in contention for that honor.