HARRISON, N.J. — While the speculation has lasted months until the official announcement was made on Sunday, the thought of playing for RB Leipzig has been on Tyler Adams’ brain for about three years.
Adams was 16 when he and fellow midfielder Sean Davis went there during the offseason to train with the Leipzig U-19s and reserves. They played a few test matches and when the duo made their way back home, Adams’ mind was set.
Leipzig was going to be his next destination and his homework was underway.
“I started watching them as soon as I left Leipzig,” Adams said at a news conference at Red Bull Arena on Monday. “They were promoted the following year and for the past two years, I've been watching them…I've been doing my homework on them so I'm excited to finally get over there and start playing with those guys.”
Adams said the frenetic pace of the Bundesliga and the fact that the league has proven to be beneficial for young players, including young American players, played a factor. That Leipzig plays a nearly identical style to the New York Red Bulls didn’t hurt.
“It’ll probably be the best transition for me and how I fit this team here,” Adams said. “If I were to slot in tomorrow at defensive mid there, I know that the role, for the most part, is similar to what I've done here. I think that probably keeps me the most at ease the most about starting a new journey there.”
And, of course, having his former coach in Jesse Marsch there will be a huge help, not only to get acclimated to his new teammates, but also a new language.
“He was one of the people that had belief in me from my first steps here, so I'm excited to go there and have the opportunity to learn from him again,” Adams said. “Him being a coach there and learning from [Leipzig head coach] Ralf [Rangnick] is obviously important because Ralf has so much experience in the Bundesliga and so much knowledge of the game, so I'll be able to learn from both of them and Jesse can be my translator for the most part.”
Adams said before he signed with the New York Red Bulls in 2015, there were opportunities for him to play in Europe. But he called the decision to stay and play for his hometown team “the best decision I could have made.” Both in terms of maturing as a person, but also as a player who now goes to Germany with 74 professional appearances in all competitions, as well as nine for the US men's national team.
“At that time, I was just getting in my comfort zone,” he said. “I think that staying inside that realm and being able to finish school with my high school friends and having my family and living at home, it just all made sense. Now, when I look back at it, I moved out of my parents house this year and I'm able to live on my own, start to learn things that I need to do, pay my rent on time and do stuff like that. I’ve developed so much as a player, but even more so as a person and started to mature a lot more now.”
Balancing responsibilities for club and country this year has left Adams with little down time. Adams said Marsch informed him that when he leaves for Leipzig in January, he’ll get three weeks off.
“I know things will be going 100 miles an hour, there'll be a lot of things to do with off the field, whether it’s an apartment or just getting your lifestyle figured out and just living in a new country,” Adams said. “It’s going to be stressful and there's going to be moments where you look back at it and you're like ‘Oh my god this is the worst thing ever.’ But it's the best decision I've made and I'm excited for the next step now.”