Roma Signs FC Dallas, U.S. Defender Bryan Reynolds

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Weston McKennie will have some familiar company in Italy.

AS Roma has signed 19-year-old American right back Bryan Reynolds from FC Dallas on a deal that will eventually tie him to the club through 2025, making him the second American to join a Serie A club following McKennie's summer move to Juventus.

McKennie, also a product of the FC Dallas academy, is on loan from Schalke, with Juventus having an option to buy. Reynolds moved Monday also technically on a six-month loan before the move becomes a permanent transfer to Roma. The fee, which FC Dallas said is a franchise record, will be worth $8.12 million (6.75 million euros), according to Roma, with the potential for it to increase to $15 million (12.4 million euros) if certain conditions are met. FC Dallas will retain a 15% sell-on clause. Juventus, Marseille and Club Brugge were reportedly among the other European clubs vying to sign Reynolds. Juve appeared to be the favorite before a move there failed to materialize for various reasons. 

The outgoing transfer is just the latest piece of impressive business for FC Dallas, which also had Reggie Cannon—for whom Reynolds had stepped in so admirably—leave for Portugal's Boavista in September. The club has put its partnership with Bayern Munich to good use as well, sending six homegrown players—Edwin Cerrillo, Justin Che, Ricardo Pepi, Dante Sealy, Brandon Servania and Thomas Roberts—overseas for a three-week training stint. Tanner Tessmann, who was in U.S. national team camp this past month (where Reynolds was also a participant before departing to complete his transfer), was also expected to train with the reigning German and European champions, according to ESPN. Chris Richards has already been a beneficiary of that partnership, signing with the German giant two years ago.

“We couldn’t be happier for Bryan and his family,” FC Dallas president Dan Hunt said in a statement. “Bryan is a true testament to the academy process. From playing on fields in Fort Worth as a child to competing professionally for us in Frisco and now in Italy, he has inspired a generation of North Texas soccer players with the idea of what’s possible through a pathway at FC Dallas.”

FC Dallas's Bryan Reynolds

The transfer to Roma cements Reynolds's meteoric rise, considering how little first-team time he's had in MLS, how rapidly he picked up the right back position after shifting from an attacking role and how he's uncapped at the senior national team level. Reynolds made 17 appearances (14 starts) during the MLS regular season and another two starts in the playoffs for FCD. Before that, he had played just 112 first-team minutes (all in 2019) since signing as a homegrown player in 2016. He becomes the second American to sign with Roma following Michael Bradley's 2012 transfer there from Chievo Verona.

Roma is still under American ownership, with Boston-based James Pallotta selling to the Texas-based Friedkin Group for $700 million in August. President Dan Friedkin is said to have a prior relationship with the Hunt family, which owns FC Dallas, and that may well have played a factor in Reynolds's move. Roma currently sits third in Serie A, six points behind first-place AC Milan after Sunday's 3-1 win over Hellas Verona, which Reynolds attended.

“I love this game so much and I’m excited for my future,” Reynolds said. “I grew up with FC Dallas and wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t have the opportunity with the club. I’m going to fight and give everything to Roma like I did here. I would like to thank the fans and FC Dallas for their support. I’m just super excited for my future and I’m going to learn Italian as fast as possible.”

Reynolds is another young American in MLS to secure a transfer abroad this winter. The Philadelphia Union sent 20-year-old midfielder Brenden Aaronson to Salzburg and 21-year-old center back Mark McKenzie to Genk, while NYCFC sold 18-year-old right back Joe Scally to Borussia Monchengladbach in a move that had been previously arranged for over a year. Orlando City's Daryl Dike, 20, also landed a move abroad, albeit on a short-term loan to Barnsley in England's second division.

A more experienced U.S. international, 26-year-old Jordan Morris, secured a loan from the Seattle Sounders to Swansea City for the remainder of this Championship season, with an option to make it a permanent transfer. D.C. United's Paul Arriola, who turns 26 next week, is joining him at Swansea, getting a loan in prior to the deadline–though his does not come with an option to buy. New York Red Bulls center back Aaron Long, 28, was also linked to a move to Europe ahead of Monday's transfer deadline, with reported potential suitors ranging from Liverpool to Reading to Lorient to other unnamed clubs in England, but a move did not ultimately materialize.

As for other Americans on the move within Europe, Richards left Bayern on loan for Hoffenheim (which does not have an option to make it a full transfer). Tyler Boyd is also going out on loan, trading one Turkish club for another in leaving Besiktas for Sivasspor for the rest of the season. Veteran right back DeAndre Yedlin, meanwhile, finalized a move from Newcastle to Galatasaray.