MLS Exports

NYCFC academy product Joe Scally shines in Bundesliga debut vs. Bayern Munich

Back in March 2018, Joe Scally signed as a homegrown player for New York City FC – then just 15 years of age.

And on Friday afternoon, as the 2021-22 Bundesliga season got underway, the Long Island-area native made his German top-flight debut for Borussia Mönchengladbach. He helped limit the impact of Bayern Munich stars Leroy Sane and Thomas Muller in a 1-1 draw, a match Die Fohlen certainly could have won against the titleholders.

Scally, a natural right back, featured at left back as head coach Adi Hütter juggled his backline. It continues a dream start to his time in Germany, which included a first-team debut midweek against third-division side 1. FC Kaiserslautern in the DFB-Pokal.

“I think we could have a great year this year,” the 18-year-old said in a postgame interview. “We want to win the cup, win the league and end in a Champions League spot, which is our goal every year."

Scally, who was spotlighted in Greg Seltzer’s MLS Exports watch list, logged just four appearances (one start) for NYCFC across three seasons. He was stuck behind first-choice right back Anton Tinnerholm, though was also a teenager learning how to be a professional.

Scally’s potential did enough to attract Borussia Mönchengladbach, and he signed with the club in November 2019. ESPN reported that the initial transfer fee was around $2 million, and incentives could see the seven-figure cost rise significantly.

Should Scally continue on this trajectory, he'll surely make the case for a US men’s national team call-in. He’s never featured for head coach Gregg Berhalter’s team, but boasts extensive experience at the U15 and U17 levels.

As the USMNT nears the start of Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers this September, Scally could compete for left-back minutes with Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp) and George Bello (Atlanta United). Another factor is Sergino Dest (FC Barcelona), who can play either fullback spot. The USMNT’s right-back pool is remarkably deep, so inroads are more complicated there.

Scally is one of two NYCFC Academy products shining in the Bundesliga, with midfielder Giovanni Reyna a mainstay for Borussia Dortmund. He’s also featured extensively for Borussia Mönchengladbach's reserves in the fourth-tier Regionalliga West, getting prepared for this chance in the spotlight.