Soccer

Serie A: American players to watch as Italian league kicks off this weekend on Paramount+

There was a time not long ago where having an American in Serie A was rare. Sure, we’ve seen it in the past with some such as Michael Bradley and American-born Joshua Perez of the El Salvador national team. Even Alexi Lalas played in Italy’s top flight. But before last season, in decades, we’ve had only seen six total. But entering the 2021-22 season, which starts this weekend, there are now four Americans playing in the Italian first division as a wave of stateside talent makes its way to one of the world’s best leagues. With two Americans in Serie A last season, two more joined this summer for what’s expected to be an intriguing campaign once again. 

You can watch Serie A action this season with every game airing on Paramount+, and here’s a look at the Americans there and what to expect from them this season.

1) Weston McKennie, Juventus

He’s the established American star in Italy at one of the biggest clubs in Juventus, featuring 46 times last season with six goals to his name. A favorite under Andrea Pirlo, it remains to be seen how exactly he is viewed in the eyes of new manager Massimiliano Allegri. But his performances have been impressive, helping the club win the Coppa Italia last season as well as the Italian Super Cup. He is far and away the biggest name from American soccer in Italy, playing alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Federico Chiesa. Expect him to get a good amount of starts, some appearances off the bench, and don’t be shocked to see him starting some big knockout stage games in the Champions League. When it comes to Serie A, expect even more production from him after his six goals last season. Six is a great number of goals for a midfielder, but expectations will be even higher, with the club looking at him to register double digit goals.

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2) Bryan Reynolds, Roma

Reynolds is an intriguing player.  After breaking out at FC Dallas as a fullback, he was acquired by Roma last season. Now being coached by Jose Mourinho, he is a speedy, talented right back who has the chance to become a star. With serious potential and soccer IQ, it will all be about if he can get minutes to help his development. If not, a loan would probably be best, though sources tell CBS Sports there is no plan for that at this time. He came off the bench in Saturday’s friendly win over Raja Casablanca but has Dutch defender Rick Karsdorp ahead of him. It’s hard to see him getting a good amount of starts, but if he makes the most of substitute appearances, you never know. With Alessandro Florenzi likely on his way to Milan, after being loaned out to PSG last season, Reynolds looks like a lock to be the backup right back at the very least.

3) Gianluca Busio and Tanner Tessmann, Venezia

United States men’s national team midfielders Gianluca Busio of Sporting Kansas City and Tanner Tessmann from FC Dallas joined newly promoted Venezia this summer. The latter made his first appearance for the club in the Coppa Italia last weekend, missing a penalty kick as his side advanced past Frosinone. As for Busio, he awaits his debut but could really play an important role in the middle of the park. For both of them, it will all be about showing what they can do in training in order to earn those minutes, then proving their worth out there. Both are just 19 years of age and in their maiden European campaign, and only time will tell if manager Paolo Zanetti views them as viable options even just off the bench. Given their age and relative lack of experience it’s very possible they will be used sporadically early on as the squad hopes that they develop into productive players down the road. 



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