FC Dallas youngsters have called Chris Richards an inspiration.
, 20, started his career atBayern Munich
’s partner clubFC Dallas
and is now a full USA international and has made his debut against Panama in November 2020. He has recently joinedHoffenheim
on loan for the rest of the season to gain more regular first-team experience.
After seeing his successful pathway into professional football in Europe, he became an inspiration for academy players like Justin Che (17), Ricardo Pepi (18), Dante Sealy (17), Brandon Servania (21), Thomas Roberts (19), and Edwin Cerrillo (20), who have decided to follow his path.
“Obviously it’s inspirational seeing him, his path, and everything he’s done and accomplished so far,” Pepi said. “It just shows us that it’s possible for us as well. I’m just extremely happy for him.”
Servania also said: “Chris used to play back in Dallas, so we have some sort of connection. Seeing him go through the ranks here, it inspires us.”
Richards made his debut at the end of the season 2019/20 and then made three Bundesliga appearances for Bayern and three in the UEFA Champions League. He then moved to Hoffenheim, where he played the full 90 minutes in the game against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Probably the highlight of his career to date is when he provided an assist for
in their 4-3 win against Hertha Berlin.
“I’m super proud of him,” said Roberts. “It’s awesome to see a guy from Alabama doing big things at Bayern. I remember when he had the assist for [Robert] Lewandowski. I was sitting on my bed and just thought, ‘wow, we were playing together two years ago and now he’s assisting the best striker in the world’. It’s pretty cool.
“When I first came here I started in the U19s and now they’re seeing me make it into the first team.
“I think they’re proud of me, but they make jokes about me, saying that I’m too big-time now. It’s a really big compliment for me because these are the guys I’ve grown up with my whole life and they look at me in a different light now. That means a lot.”
It was not an easy transition as the difference in approach between the US and Germany is significant.
“It’s two different styles of play,” Roberts said. “In Dallas, it’s a little bit more physical, but here they focus a lot more on technique.
“When you get over here, they’re more about playing, how to play different kinds of balls, kind of just playing smarter.
“Back home it’s more about physical attributes. That was the biggest difference between playing at home and playing here.”