A new story from Men In Blazers

Men In Blazers


And especially when they offered me the yearlong loan. I had graduated high school the week before and I had only one suitcase to pack for a year and move into a place where I didn't speak the language and I couldn't even tell my parents or friends goodbye 'cause I was like, oh, I'll be back in a year. No biggie, and then I wasn't back in the year. I'm still here. I'm still over here. So it was a, it was a big deal. It was a big deal. Oh, can't go to senior week. Gotta play for Bayern Munich, who has not experienced that as one of their adolescent rituals. Yeah, I'm fascinated by the culture shock because you come from part of our nation famous for its hospitality. You know, people are said to be very warm and welcoming. There's a real emphasis on community. Germany, reputationally at least, slightly cool the place. People more reserved. Were there aspects of German culture off the field that you found difficult to adjust to when you first got them? Yeah, definitely. Now me and my coach Sebastian hennes, like as soon as I got there, we were butting heads because Germans are very, it's their way of the highway. The autumn. Yeah, exactly. Oh, yeah. Crazy. Crazy. Yeah. I love it though. It's very, that's a very American thing, I think. No speed limit, just driving as fast as you want. But no, I mean, we were just butting heads all the time and it was like, you know, he wanted it one way. I was like, oh, there's a different way to do it and that was just like, I was getting punished for it, you know? And again, like you said, Germans are a bit more traditional and reserved. And that's something that I was not used to. The south is very, you know, southern hospitality. If you can't find one way to do it, you find a different way to do it. And very much something that I wasn't ready for when I first moved there. And the German locker room is a world away from American cozy climbs. The intimidation factor, you're a teenager from Birmingham, and you join your club filled with international legends of the game. I remember my first day I walk in and right beside the opening of locker room, it's like David Alaba and ain robbin, Frank ribery, and they're just like, they're laughing like they're humans, but then I walk past them and they have this cold stare on their face and they'll say, oh, okay. All right, nice to meet you. And it's like I said, it's like these guys, so I grew up watching, like I remember, I remember I and Robin at the 2010 World Cup, just like these guys who have had world class careers and I'm just this scrub from Alabama is coming into play alongside them. It was honestly a shocking. You got a great story of your first time training with the Bayern senior team and you get yelled at by iron Robin and even as you were being yelled at in real time inside your own head, you're like, oh wow, this is amazing. I'm being yelled at by iron Robin. Yeah, it was very intimidating but also. I was like, not many people can say that, you know? We've had them all these actually such a sweet blue for me was dying to know what you did to bring out that side of iron, but by and sign you on a permanent contract 6 months later, you spent your time training with the buyer and academy. Are the things you learn that year on the pitch and off that you know you would not have learned if you'd stayed here at an academy back in the United States. Yeah, a 100%. I mean, I think Byron just kind of gives you like, whether it's the academy or it's the first team or even the second team is just the winning culture. And they'll do anything to win and whether it's extra trainings, whether it's extra tactical work, it's just they live and breathe it here and that's something that necessarily we don't have back home in the states because we have other avenues, whether it's other sports or whether it's to go to college first or whatever the deal is here, it's almost life or death to them. And especially at a club like Byron, who's known for being one of the best, if not the best in Europe, it's definitely, you know, it's definitely a barrier that I had to learn and, you know, I think if I would have stayed back home, it wouldn't have I wouldn't have gotten these lessons. Needless to say, those first couple of years at Bayern, they were not all tournament matches with the first team. Playing PSG and Juventus you, Chris, were grinding it out. First with the under 19s, then with the reserve team, were there ever times in your heart in those first two years when you started the doubt the part where you'd walked up by and maybe thought to yourself, God, if I was still at Dallas, I'd be starting for the first team right now. And no one would be screaming at me. In German. Yeah, of course, you know, I think, especially as a young player, the first thing you want to do is play, you know? You see guys who are your age, like making their first team debut, whether it's not buying or it's around the league and you're like, you know, why am I not doing that yet? And buyers not necessarily known for being a development club either. So you guys one of those things where I was like, man, did I make the wrong choice like it? Am I going to be one of those players who's on loan every year and never really gets a shot at the first team? And I mean, I figured, you know, it's just one of those things where I'm in the right place if I'm doing the right stuff, eventually eventually the moments will come and that they did. You choose to stay the course. You finally earn your Bundesliga debut with Bayern at the end of the 2019 20 season. That was the first summer of the pandemic. It was all fanless, came on in the 84th minute, and another debut quickly followed November, you made your first appearance for the U.S. men's national team, a ten minute cameo in Venus, Austria, in a friendly against Panama, again, without fans without your family able to come, but you said to me after the match. Honestly, I found it incredible at the time.

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