MLS Exports

Weston McKennie joins Leeds United: Every MLS connection at the Premier League club


Major Leeds Soccer, indeed.

The historic West Yorkshire club has replaced Fulham (aka FulhAmerica) as the destination du jour for American and Major League Soccer exports.

The latest addition is Weston McKennie, who's moved on loan from Juventus to join USMNT mates Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson in the Leeds United midfield.

The 24-year-old FC Dallas academy alum further enhances the very American, very MLS feel to Leeds, who currently sit 15th in the English Premier League table under manager Jesse Marsch.

Let's take a look at all the connections.

Weston McKennie

McKennie is part of the USMNT's young core that earned valuable experience in Qatar and has fans excited about what’s to come in the 2026 World Cup on home soil.

A product of the fertile FC Dallas academy (though never signed in MLS), McKennie made his professional debut for FC Schalke 04 in the German Bundesliga before a loan move, which eventually became permanent, to Juventus in Italy's Serie A.

He’s made 145 combined appearances in two of the top leagues in the world (German Bundesliga and Serie A), played in 24 UEFA Champions League matches, and been capped 41 times for the USMNT.

With his lofty résumé and multi-faceted skillset, McKennie will be well-suited for the English Premier League.

Tyler Adams

Adams, the USMNT captain at the World Cup, will surely lay out the welcome mat for McKennie at Elland Road. The 23-year-old New York Red Bulls homegrown product moved to Leeds ahead of the season (for a reported $24 million) and was a day-one starter, becoming a fan favorite in West Yorkshire.

Adams reunited with Marsch at Leeds after the Wisconsin native coached him both at RBNY – where he made his professional debut at 16 and helped the club win an MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2018 – and again at RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga.

Like McKennie, the defensive midfielder is a crucial player for the USMNT both now and in the future.

Brenden Aaronson

The Philadelphia Union homegrown product is also in his first season with Leeds, moving from RB Salzburg a year after joining the Austrian juggernauts from Philly.

The 22-year-old is similarly a regular starter for Leeds, dramatically scoring his first Premier League goal against Chelsea in an August 3-0 victory. The “Medford Messi,” who has featured as a winger and an attacking midfielder, has six goals in 28 appearances for the USMNT.

While in MLS, Aaronson had 7g/9a in 51 games. He's netted the Union $14 million in transfer fees accumulated from his moves in Europe.

Jack Harrison

Before his American teammates and coaches made the move to Elland Road, Jack Harrison was the only MLS export at Leeds, helping the club gain promotion to the Premier League after 16 years away from the top flight.

The winger was a standout for New York City FC during the club’s infancy with 14 goals and 13 assists in 55 MLS appearances across two seasons before being transferred to Manchester City in 2018. After moving to City, the former No. 1 overall pick of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft was loaned to Middlesbrough and then Leeds, which eventually became his permanent home.

The 26-year-old Englishman has a goal and four assists in 17 Premier League appearances this season.

Jesse Marsch

Marsch took charge of Leeds United in February 2022, replacing renowned Argentine manager Marcelo Bielsa and becoming just the second American to coach in the Premier League after now-Toronto FC head coach/sporting director Bob Bradley guided Swansea City in 2016 for several months.

He began his managerial career at CF Montréal before moving to the Red Bulls, where he helped lead them to the 2015 Supporters’ Shield, earning that year's Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year award.

Marsch left RBNY in July 2018 to become RB Leipzig's assistant coach before taking over at their sister side, Red Bull Salzburg, in the Austrian Bundesliga. He won both the Austrian Bundesliga and Austrian Cup in consecutive seasons.

After Salzburg, Marsch returned to RB Leipzig, this time as their manager, ahead of the 2021-22 campaign. After four months in charge, mixed league and UEFA Champions League results led to his departure in December 2021. He settled at Leeds three months later.

Chris Armas

Armas has reunited with Marsch at Leeds, having been named an assistant coach last week. Armas was in that same role under Marsch at RBNY before taking over managerial duties when Marsch left midway through the 2018 MLS season.

Armas helped lead the Red Bulls to their third Supporters’ Shield title in 2018 and the Eastern Conference Final before losing to eventual MLS Cup champion Atlanta United.

He guided RBNY to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs again in 2019 before his departure midway through the 2020 season, compiling a 29W-21L-11D record in league play. Armas was hired as Toronto FC's head coach ahead of the 2021 season but was let go after one win in 11 league matches, with every game played outside of Toronto because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

He also served as an assistant coach at Manchester United during the second half of the 2021-22 EPL season, working under then-interim manager Ralf Rangnick. He left United in May 2022.

Mateusz Klich

Klich concludes our list as the lone player or coach to take the reverse path... That is Leeds United to MLS. The 32-year-old Polish international signed with D.C. United as a Designated Player ahead of the 2023 season after a stellar career at Elland Road, tallying 24g/21a over 195 matches in all competitions.

A key factor in Leeds' promotion to the Premier League in 2019-20, he appeared in 45 of the club's 46 league games as they won the Championship title (English second division).

He remained an unquestioned starter in the top flight, featuring in all but eight of Leeds' 76 matches between 2020-22. However, the addition of Adams pushed Klich down the pecking order this season, and he made just 11 substitute appearances in the league before disembarking for MLS.