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The Stars and (the) Stripes: Weston McKennie.

The newest member of the Bianconeri is as Italian as fettuccine alfredo or macaroni and cheese.

Red, White, and B...Juve?

Since the suspension of play originating from the coronavirus pandemic, many facets of the professional football world have been drastically altered from the norm. And the mercato has been no exception. As the August evenings wean into September mornings the rumor mill swirls with well-known commodities Juventini are clamoring to get the black and white stripes on, but many did not expect the latest one to enter so distantly out of ‘left field’. Juventus’ most recent confirmed addition of the 2020 summer* transfer market crashed into the Twittersphere like a Mack truck filled with firecrackers through a Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on the Fourth of July. News that was equally astonishing as it was brimming with potential for as much exhilaration as aforementioned analogy.

*Technically, though we are edging closer to fall territory thanks to the global plight that is COVID-19.

Not understanding all of these oddly specific and stereotypical references? Odds are you reside in a region outside of the northwestern hemisphere.

The latest in the line of non-European imports (surprisingly not Brazilian) arrives in the form of United States Men's National Team and Schalke 04 (Germany) midfielder Weston McKennie. The freshly aged 22-year-old celebrated a birthday while undergoing medical examinations at the J Medical facility following his arrival in Turin late Thursday night and (as perhaps the perfect birthday gift) was officially announced as a signed Juventus player the following Saturday evening.

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Some of the more experienced transfer market gurus might have been asking the same question I asked myself as I remained glued to the Twitter application on my phone, ignoring any pertinent duties my paying job entrusted to me…. who is this guy?

An American Pioneer in the Italian Frontier.

McKennie was born in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex city suburb of Little Elm, Texas in a state many would call the capital of American Football. No, not the kind at which Juventus excels. The pigskin-centered, helmet-wearing, arm-tackling, CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) inducing kind Americans know and love. The USA has had success at the highest levels in many team and Olympic sports, but (United States Women’s National Team notwithstanding) international and club football is not one of them.

Born and raised a citizen of the western continent, the American would not remain in one place for long. McKennie and his family left the United States at the age of five when his father, a member of the United States military, was relocated to Germany for a permanent change of station. A youth in a foreign country, McKennie would be introduced to a new spherical football aberrant from the “handegg” he knew of the same name. From there Weston’s love and skills with football blossomed playing for FC Phönix Otterbach in the German youth system. After returning to the United States, McKennie played as a member of the youth system for MLS team FC Dallas from 2009 to 2016. In 2016 McKennie turned down both a scholarship offer (after initially signing a National Letter of Intent) from the University of Virginia and a Homegrown Player contract with MLS team FC Dallas to return to Germany and play for German Bundesliga team Schalke 04.