Schalke’s U17 & U16 squads just became a little much more interesting for US fans.
Schalke 04, rumored to be close with both Haji & Hanif Wright, list Haji in the team photo as a “guest player.” Haji does not turn 18 until March 2016, but it is believed Schalke is primed to sign Wright before then.
Haji would mark the 6th member of the current US U17 core to make the move abroad, following Danny Barbir (West Bromwich Albion), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Joshua Perez (AS Fiorentia), Luca de la Torre (Fulham FC) and Joe Gallardo (CF Monterrey). Fellow US youth International ’98s Christian Albelo (FSV Frankfurt 1899 e.V.) and Darian Gurley (Karlsruher SC) are also in Germany.
Haji’s coming out party was undoubtedly the 2013 Winter Nike International Friendlies. Wright was a menace down the flanks, terrorizing the top talent from Portugal, England and Brazil. Wright scored 5 times during the three game tournament winning the Golden Boot. Wright was one of many players to drastically increase his stock following his impressive performance, with multiple clubs all around Europe beginning to take interest.
It was clear Haji was not long for US Residency. Just this last week Haji trained with the Los Angeles Galaxy first team. Rumors that a Home-Grown offer would be coming his way began to swirl in Galaxy circles.
Haji’s younger brother Hanif has been starred for the USSDA Los Angeles Galaxy U14 side during the 2013-2014 campaign. In 17 matches Hanif has netted 15 times. His strike rate caught the attention of National Team Head Coach Hugo Perez. Hanif was called up to the US U15 trip to the United Arab Emirates, scoring the US’ only goal in a 1-3 loss to Al Jazeera FC.
Both Wright brothers possess amazing speed, with an uncanny stride that helps them glide by defenders. Their potential move to Germany, and Schalke in particular, is promising for two of the more promising US talents. Schalke is a talent factory. International stars, Mesmut Ozil, Lewis Holtby, Benni Howedes, Joel Matip, Julian Draxler all made their way through the academy system, while current youth products Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka looked poised to become future stars.