Josh Sargent Training at Schalke

SLSG Academy Win in PK's against U17 YNT

Josh Sargent advances the ball for the U17 YNT in their match against the U18 SLSG Academy team at WWT Soccer Park on October 8, 2016

Fresh from the U20 National Team Camp, where the U17 stalwart made his debut with the older group, Josh has moved to Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04 per his father’s tweet.

It follows on the heels of his training with PSV Eindhoven in October, shortly after captaining the U17 side in their match at the WWT Soccer Park (pictured above). As we’ve also written about, Josh spent two weeks training with Sporting KC last Summer, subsequently leading to Missouri’s only MLS side to make a homegrown claim if Josh chooses to join MLS rather than a foreign side or college.

For those interested in digging deeper into what the possibilities look like for the lad from O’Fallon, an interesting story earlier this week offered some background on Schalke and their increasing emphasis on US talent that includes Haji Wright, Weston McKennie and Nicholas Taitague.

Schalke’s development lineage includes Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil and, more recently, current Manchester City ingenue Leroy Sane. But three promising Americans moving to one club within the span of 13 months begs obvious questions. Why Schalke? Why now?

The answer lies in the life and times of a man named Bodo Menze.

Menze is a Schalke lifer and a legend in German development. Menze is responsible for hauling the Schalke development system into modernity and presided over an incredible string of development successes in his time from 1991-2013. Under his stewardship, Schalke pumped out the likes of Neuer, Ozil, Sane, Ralf Fährmann, Benedikt Höwedes, Joel Matip, Julian Draxler, Max Meyer, Sead Kolasinac and scads more. He recently stepped back from the business of development to take on more of a removed administrative director role, and it was in that capacity that I spoke with him at the NSCAA Convention in Los Angeles in January.

Read more at How Schalke is becoming Schalkemerica that includes this

One of the coaches he brought in was a man named Norbert Elgert. Over the years Elgert gradually developed a reputation as one of the most brilliantly eccentric youth developers in Germany, and he’s still with the club as its U19 coach today. Elgert, it should be noted, is the current primary coach for those three Americans. There is no U19 coach in Germany with a broader and more lauded reputation.

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