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Tyler Adams Adds to the USMNT Intrigue Building at Leeds United

Adams has left Leipzig for Leeds, joining Brenden Aaronson in playing under Jesse Marsch in the Premier League.

Chalk another one up for Leeds United (States of America).

Tyler Adams is following U.S. teammate Brenden Aaronson and heading to Elland Road from a Red Bull property, where they’ll play for American manager Jesse Marsch at a club that suddenly becomes as important and intriguing as any as it relates to the fortunes of the U.S. men’s national team at the 2022 World Cup. Adams is leaving RB Leipzig to reunite with Marsch at a third destination (New York Red Bulls, Leipzig, Leeds) for a reported fee of £20 million ($23.9 million), which signals the end of his time in the Bundesliga and the dawn of a new challenge at a vital time.

In terms of a fit between player and manager, you would think it can’t get much better for both Adams and Aaronson, who will be tasked with adapting to the demands of the Premier League while staying fit and in form in order to be in peak shape for a trip to Qatar in November. Both have played for Marsch previously (Aaronson doing so at Salzburg), so there shouldn’t be much of an acclimation process, at least as it relates to his preferred style, and there should be ample support for both coming from the top. Adams doesn’t score much, but his first unofficial goal with the Red Bulls came nearly seven years ago to the day in a friendly against Chelsea, when he was 16 and when Marsch was his coach. Suffice it to say, there’s an understanding and measure of history between them that isn’t all that common among players and coaches.

“Jesse was a huge influence on my career so far,” Adams told Leeds’s video channel. “He’s given me a lot of experiences as a young player that other players may not have received.”

Tyler Adams will play for Jesse Marsch at Leeds

Adams and Marsch at RB Leipzig.

That’s not to say this is going to be a cushy path to playing time, though, for either U.S. star. Leeds may have lost midfield ace Kalvin Phillips to Manchester City and could well sell star winger Raphinha as well, but Adams and Aaronson are not the only two replacements brought in. Defensive midfielder Marc Roca (signed from Bayern Munich) and winger Luis Sinisterra (reportedly set to be signed from Feyenoord) will also bolster Marsch’s squad, and it’s his chief objective to avoid the same kind of relegation scrap that nearly claimed Leeds last season, not serve the greater good of the USMNT. If both can be accomplished, then great, but the situation is one where even though the conditions for the U.S. players appear to be optimal, nothing will be spoon-fed. The Premier League can be ruthless, as Marsch nearly found out the hard way just months into his time as Leeds manager.

“That’s the most important thing for me—playing against the best teams, playing against the best players, proving yourself to everybody. That’s why I picked here,” Adams said.

There will be ample pressure on both Adams and Aaronson to deliver, and for Adams in particular, he’s coming off a season in which he endured some mixed results. He started just 12 league games for Leipzig, but he did wind up winning the DFB Pokal in what wound up being his farewell to the club. There will be an emphasis on being a regular fixture in the Leeds XI as he prepares for what should be a role with a high degree of responsibility in Qatar.

There could be long-term ramifications on the national team beyond this upcoming World Cup as well, depending on how their futures with the club unfold. Both are signed with Leeds through the next World Cup—the one the U.S. will be co-hosting with Mexico and Canada—with Adams and Aaronson on five-year deals through the summer of 2027.

USMNT midfielder Tyler Adams

Adams is a vital cog in the U.S. midfield.

Their signings have headlined a busy summer of player movement that was largely expected from the U.S. player pool given how tenuous a lot of individual club situations had become. Goalkeepers Zack Steffen (reportedly headed to Middlesbrough) and Ethan Horvath (Luton Town) are going on loan with an eye on securing more regular playing time, while Matt Turner (Arsenal) will hope that Premier League exposure supersedes his upper-echelon status in MLS. Jordan Pefok, meanwhile, is headed to the Bundesliga (Union Berlin) after scoring at will in Switzerland and could perhaps once again throw himself into a more prominent position on the striker depth chart.

The biggest unanswered question revolves around Christian Pulisic, with Chelsea quite clearly looking to alter its options on the wings amid reports of an agreement on personal terms with Raheem Sterling, with further links to Raphinha, Maxwel Cornet and even Neymar (although new PSG manager Christophe Galtier claimed that he wants Neymar to stay put upon his introduction as Mauricio Pochettino’s replacement). Regardless of whether Chelsea—and new American owner/moonlighting sporting director Todd Boehly—actually winds up adding anyone, that can’t be comforting or settling for a player whose status with the club always seems to be in flux.

To that end, the landing spots for Adams and Aaronson are ideal. There will be a layer of comfort knowing they’re playing for a familiar manager, and there shouldn’t be any concern regarding communication with U.S. Soccer and Gregg Berhalter’s staff over their well-being and physical states. This close to a World Cup, with so little time left as a national team, club situations and environments mean everything, and for Adams and Aaronson, it’s quite likely they’ve found the right ones.

“Regular playing time is important for me, and I want to have a big impact here as well,” Adams said. “That will have a big effect on how we can perform as a national team going into the World Cup.”

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