Weston McKennie has fast become one of the faces of the next generation of talent for the US men's national team, going from an FC Dallas academy product, to the Bundesliga with FC Schalke, to one of the most prestigious clubs in the world with this recent signing with Juventus.
It puts him in a group with a handful of emerging US up-and-comers who have joined top-class European clubs, including Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), and Sergino Dest and Konrad de la Fuente (both of Barcelona).
In a new interview released Thursday with ESPN, McKennie said he's relishing being a part of what he sees as the next generation for the country, adding that he expects playing and training in these settings to boost the group to another level when they congregate again for the USMNT.
"It's exciting to be part of the new generation," McKennie told ESPN. "You have a team that is getting the exposure and experience of playing day-in and day-out with the best players in the world."
It's all heady stuff for the 22-year-old, who is trying to break in with a Juventus side that includes one of the biggest superstars in the sport in Cristiano Ronaldo among other world-class talents. McKennie said his US teammates have picked his brain about what it's like playing with Ronaldo.
"It was definitely jaw-dropping for sure, walking into the locker room and seeing the players that I'm playing with," McKennie said. "For me, I look at it and I think I can learn so much from these people and hopefully they take me under their wing, and they definitely have, so it's definitely been amazing so far."
McKennie is studying under one of the best to ever do it at the position in Juventus manager and former player Andrea Pirlo, and he's trying to soak up all the knowledge he can from one of the grandmasters. He also shed light on why he jumped at the opportunity to play for Juventus, despite generating interest from other clubs, including some in the English Premier League.
"Of course, it wasn't a hidden secret that my goal and my dream was to try to make it to the Premier League," he said. "But with that being said, when a team like Juventus comes in with the caliber of players they have, the training staff, with me hearing that Pirlo's going to be the new coach — just hearing all those things made it even more intriguing to come here. It's a club that wins titles, it's a club that challenges and competes to be the best in the world. It fit my goals and aspirations as well, I want to become one of the best at my position, I want to win titles, I want to make history and make history with the club as well."