SSFC Spotlight: Chris Richards embarks on another loan at Hoffenheim

© Photo by Tom Weller/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team started the journey to the World Cup, while simultaneously undergoing the long-term process to determine the 23 best players. The final roster may end up being significantly different than the current version, with Chris Richards potentially adding some needed depth to the back line. The 21-year-old defender is on loan at Hoffenheim from Bayern Munich, looking likely to start for an entire season in the Bundesliga. With a little more development and experience, he may vault from the fringes of the pool and into contention for Qatar.

Richards was born in Birmingham, Alabama, a member of the growing national team cohort from the Yellowhammer State. He played with the Birmingham Youth Soccer Association and Hoover Soccer Club, winning multiple state cups with the latter organization. At 16, the winger-turned-defender moved by himself to Houston to play up an age level with Texans SC, claiming the 2017 USSDA National Championship and learning to adjust to a new environment.

“It was tough for me at first,” he told the Hoover Sun. “Was this the life for me? Is this what I wanted to do? It took a toll on me at first, but I knew I was there for a reason, so I strapped on my boots and got to it.”

Bavarian Football Works published a wide-ranging three-part series on his journey. The series analyzed his tough decision between pursuing basketball and soccer, his father a professional player in the former sport. There is also an interview with his mother, discussing the challenges of progressing through the complicated youth landscape.

In 2017, Richards joined the FC Dallas youth academy and signed a Homegrown contract the next year, pending the fulfillment of league eligibility requirement. Due to a strategic partnership between the clubs, Bayern Munich brought the teenager in for a trial and offered him a year-long youth loan, claiming to have “a lot of confidence” in his future success. He appeared in summer friendlies with the German giants and became a starter for the U-19 team, earning praise from then-manager Niko Kovač for his talent and hard work in training.

Six months later, a suitably impressed Bayern pulled the trigger on a transfer, sending a reported $1.5 million to FC Dallas, for whom Richards never made a professional appearance. He signed a four-and-a-half year deal through June of 2023. The move was described as a “landmark moment” by the club, hoping to further expand into the American talent market.

“We are very happy that we have agreed [to] Chris’ transfer from FC Dallas,” said academy manager Jochen Sauer. “Chris has represented us very well in the last six months and we are convinced that he will continue to develop well here… We see great potential in him.”

Despite receiving interest from Barcelona, Valencia, and other Bundesliga sides, Richards began playing with the reserves in the summer of 2019, starting in 30 matches and scoring four goals in the third division, overcoming an early slip in focus that could have derailed his young career. Bayern II won the 3. Liga but was not promoted due to federation rules. He even made his first-team debut, playing six minutes in a 3-1 over SC Freiburg. Total Football Analysis praised his versatility, flexibility, and composure on the ball in the possession-based style.

His success continued the next half-season, amid continued worldwide transfer interest. Richards played in a total of seven senior matches: three in the Bundesliga, three in the Champions League, and winning the DFL-Supercup over Borussia Dortmund. In February, he was sent on loan to Hoffenheim, joining a club struggling with injury issues and general defensive woes.

On the “perfect loan,” Richards played in nearly every possible Bundesliga and Europa League match for Die Kraichgauer. His coaches were previously in the youth setup at Bayern, well-informed with how to maximize his abilities and continue the development process. A hamstring problem kept him out of the final three fixtures of the season.

Hoffenheim looked to sign him permanently but was unable to convince the parent club of a sale or meet the reported $12 million price tag. “He fulfilled exactly the need we were looking for,” Sebastian Hoeneß said at the end of the loan. “We knew what he could do. Now he heads back to Bayern.”

Chris Richards with the hockey assist

— UCL on Paramount+ (@CBSSportsGolazo) February 18, 2021

This season started much the same under new manager Julian Nagelsmann. Bayern took another long look at Richards, deploying him in the league and domestic cup. The club ultimately opted for another loan to Hoffenheim but also extended his contract through 2025. A seamless transition, he started in his first available match and played 90 minutes at center back.

His career may eventually lead away from Bayern, as the club appeared willing to part with him this summer. In an interview with France Football, Richards indicated that the process can occasionally be difficult, leading to self-doubt while waiting for an opportunity. Whatever decision he makes will also have an impact on his international future, which is awaiting true liftoff.

Richards is a long-term member of U.S. national team program. He started all five matches at the 2019 U-20 World Cup, a run that ended with a quarterfinals loss to Ecuador. His international debut came last year, appearing as a substitute in the 6-2 friendly victory over Panama. The defender has three caps in total, on the periphery of Gregg Berhalter’s immediate plans.

“Chris is one of our central defenders of the future,” the USMNT manager told dBild in September of 2020. “I like his development very much. I find the cooperation between Bayern and the USSF to be outstanding. Together we’re trying to develop a great player from a great talent. Bayern has a plan with Chris.”

At 6’2”, Richards is a versatile defender capable of lining up at fullback and center back, appearing to prefer the latter position. With Hoffenheim, he has handled the differing responsibilities of three-player and four-player back lines, which could prove useful on a national team that alternates between several formations. His game has drawn comparisons to former teammates Jérôme Boateng, particularly in regards to size and “reading of the game.”

Throwback to @eastmamba‘s first assist for FC Bayern. Big things coming for Chris Richards! ⭐


— FC Bayern US (@FCBayernUS) November 12, 2020

His athleticism is frequently cited as an asset, with Hansi Flick praising his ability to win headers. Richards possesses an impressive passing range and can break multiple lines. Perhaps more important is his “positive attitude,” with Bayern officials describing him as “a joy to work with.” From a young age, the defender was considered a highly intelligent problem solver that would figure out drills and take advantage of situations, thriving when anticipating the opponent’s moves.

Richards has admitted his hopes are to be a “main player” for the 2026 World Cup. However, he is striving for a spot on the 2022 squad, which might not be too far outside the realm of possibility. The national team is still figuring out the center back depth chart, which is shallower than previously imagined, especially after the injury of Aaron Long. A week in, week out starter for a mid-table Bundesliga club should at least receive a chance to prove his quality and fit during qualifying.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


Bengals blowout Ravens in Baltimore, move into first place with 41-17 victory

© Provided by NBC Sports Entering Week Seven, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had never lost to the Bengals as a starter. But these aren’t the Bengals of recent years. Cincinnati ... Read more »

Football: Messi muted as 10-man PSG draw with Marseille

Lionel Messi in action with Marseille’s Brazilian defender Luan Peres, on Oct 24, 2021. PARIS (AFP) – Lionel Messi was kept quiet as 10-man Paris Saint-Germain settled for a 0-0 ... Read more »

Luis Suárez produceert dubbelslag na 0-2 achterstand tegen Real Sociedad

© Aangeboden door Voetbalzone De wedstrijd tussen Atlético Madrid en Real Sociedad heeft zondagavond geen winnaar opgeleverd. De hoogvliegers uit LaLiga remiseerden in het Wanda Metropolitano met 2-2; Atlético kwam ... Read more »

Ongelukkige hoofdrol Dumfries bij remise Inter-Juve, rood Mourinho in Napels

© Aangeboden door Internazionale heeft zondag door een door Denzel Dumfries veroorzaakte strafschop punten verspeeld in de Serie A-topper tegen Juventus: 1-1. Eerder op de dag liet Napoli op ... Read more »

Aerial Video Shows Lava's Destructive Path on La Palma Coast

Drone footage taken on October 22 shows lava in various stages of cooling along La Palma’s coastline, as local officials reported extensive damage to crops on the island. As of ... Read more »

WK-stand F1 | Verstappen verdubbelt voorsprong ten opzichte van Hamilton

© Aangeboden door GPblog NL In het 2021 staat Max Verstappen momenteel twaalf punten voor in het wereldkampioenschap. Lewis Hamilton zal in de achtervolging moeten, want het seizoen telt nog ... Read more »

Messi muted as 10-man PSG draw with Marseille

Lionel Messi was kept quiet as 10-man Paris Saint-Germain settled for a 0-0 draw with bitter rivals Marseille in a heated atmosphere in Ligue 1 on Sunday. © NICOLAS TUCAT ... Read more »

Avec un doublé de Kaba, Louvain se défait de Saint-Trond

Le score était de 0-0 au repos mais Hayashi s’est vu refuser un but par le VAR. © photonews Mercier En seconde, Kaba ouvrait le score à l’heure de jeu ... Read more »

Dybala sauve la Juventus à la dernière minute

Sur penalty, Paulo Dybala a inscrit le but égalisateur à la 89e minute. © photonews Dybala Paulo Après avoir mené pendant une majeure partie de la rencontre, l’Inter s’est vu ... Read more »

Marseille et Paris se quittent dos à dos

Dans une rencontre à forte tension, Marseille et Paris n’ont pas débloqué le marquoir. © Marseille Score nul et vierge entre Marseille et Paris ce dimanche soir. Après les ... Read more »

Max Verstappen fends off charging Lewis Hamilton to win US Grand Prix and extend title lead

© Chris Graythen/Getty Images  Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas ... Read more »

Verstappen gewinnt GP von Austin

Austin. Max Verstappen hat im Reifenpoker das bessere Blatt gehabt. Der Red-Bull-Star hielt seinen WM-Rivalen Lewis Hamilton beim Formel-1-Grand-Prix der USA erfolgreich auf Distanz und vergrößerte mit dem achten Saisonsieg ... Read more »

Highlights of Roma's 0-0 Draw With Napoli

© Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images Following a crushing defeat in the Conference League, I would guess that most Romanisti would say that a confident and undefeated Napoli is the ... Read more »

Robin Fraser 'proud' of Colorado Rapids for securing MLS Cup Playoff spot

© Provided by 90min Fraser has guided Colorado to the playoffs in each of his two full seasons in charge. | C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports Robin Fraser has expressed ... Read more »

Verstappen felt unsure aggressive strategy beat Hamilton for US GP win

© Steven Tee / Motorsport Images Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B Verstappen lost the lead from F1 title rival Lewis Hamilton at the start, but was able to get ... Read more »

Dybala saves Juve at Inter, Napoli's perfect start ends

© Vincenzo PINTO Napoli’s Victor Osimhen thought his offside goal should have stood at Roma Paulo Dybala saved Juventus on Sunday with a controversial late penalty which earned his team ... Read more »

Ronald Koeman's car mobbed outside Camp Nou after Clasico defeat

© Provided by 90min Barcelona lost the Clasico 2-1 | Eric Alonso/GettyImages Ronald Koeman’s car was mobbed as the Barcelona manager attempted to leave Camp Nou after his side’s 2-1 ... Read more »

Salah equals 85-year Liverpool record with Premier League hat-trick against Manchester United

Mohamed Salah’s hat-trick for Liverpool against Manchester United in the English Premier League on Sunday means that the Egypt international has equalled a club record that has stood for 85 ... Read more »

WK-stand F1 2021: Verstappen bouwt voorsprong uit met prachtzege

© Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images Polesitter Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, geeft Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Max Verstappen mocht de race in Texas vanaf pole-position aanvangen, maar zag Lewis Hamilton ... Read more »

Verstappen vince ad Austin davanti a Hamilton, 4^ Leclerc

AUSTIN (STATI UNITI) (ITALPRESS) – Max Verstappen vince il Gran Premio degli Stati Uniti e allunga nel Mondiale di Formula 1. Alle sue spalle chiude il grande rivale nella corsa ... Read more »

Four-try Max Malins shrugs off scorn for tights as Saracens crush Wasps

© PA Electric Max Malins scores four tries as Saracens blow away depleted Wasps – PA Saracens 56 Wasps 15  Max Malins helped himself to four tries of a severely-depleted ... Read more »

Impresa Napoli contro la Virtus, Trieste e Reggiana a valanga

Primo ko stagionale per i campioni d’Italia in carica: la Virtus Bologna cade a Napoli 92-89 e si stacca così dal primo posto occupato a punteggio pieno (10) dall’Olimpia Milano, ... Read more »

MotoGP 2021. GP di Misano2. Statistiche e numeri di Fabio Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo è il nuovo campione del mondo 2021 della MotoGP. © Ecco alcuni numeri che descrivono la carriera del pilota francese. Quartararo è il sesto pilota più giovane a vincere ... Read more »

Inter-Juventus 1-1: Dybala riprende i nerazzurri sul gong, parità a San Siro

Partiamo dalla fine, come spesso accade quando il destino mette di fronte Inter e Juventus. Minuto 87, Alex Sandro e Dumfries vengono a contatto nell’area di rigore interista: l’arbitro Mariani ... Read more »

A Trento la Supercoppa, Monza sconfitta in quattro set

L’Itas Trentino si aggiudica la Supercoppa italiana di volley per la terza volta nella propria storia, a otto anni di distanza dall’ultima affermazione. All’Eurosuole Forum di Civitanova, i gialloblu’ piegano ... Read more »

F1 United States GP race results: Verstappen wins in Austin

© Andy Hone / Motorsport Images Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, battles with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 Hamilton led from the start, but Verstappen undercut him at the first ... Read more »

Jesse Lingard denies receiving ‘abuse' from Manchester United fan during heavy loss to Liverpool

© Manchester United via Getty Images Jesse Lingard was an unused substitute in Man United’s thrashing by Liverpool – Manchester United via Getty Images Jesse Lingard has denied suggestions that ... Read more »

World's best in wait as Scotland prepare to prove their Super 12 status in T20 World Cup

Scotland batter Calum MacLeod is looking forward to the opportunity of potentially facing the best T20 bowler in the world – Rashid Khan – when Shane Burger’s men come up ... Read more »

Every word as Neville and Carragher debate Solskjaer's future after Manchester United defeat

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has come under intense pressure after Manchester United were swept aside by Liverpool. Having returned to winning ways in the Champions League – against Atalanta – the ... Read more »

"There's rumours..." - Graham Roberts drops Tottenham exit verdict amid big £34m claim

Former Tottenham Hotspur player Graham Roberts says that there have been rumours that Real Madrid want to sign Sergio Reguilon back. © Provided by This is Futbol Reguilon El Nacional ... Read more »

Solskjaer schließt Rücktritt aus: "Wir sind zu nah dran, um aufzugeben"

Manchester United erlebt mit der 0:5-Heimniederlage gegen den FC Liverpool den Tiefpunkt unter Trainer Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Der Norweger gibt sich trotzdem kämpferisch. Mehr als Durchhalteparolen? © imago images/PA Images ... Read more »

Seedorf: "Olympische Spiele als Beispiel für die WM"

Walther-Bensemann-Preisträger Clarence Seedorf spricht sich im Interview mit dem kicker gegen eine Weltmeisterschaft alle zwei Jahre aus. “Sollten die Gründe dafür rein kommerzieller Natur sein, ist es unnötig”, findet der ... Read more »

Emma Raducanu hopeful of finding new coach before Australian Open

Emma Raducanu has said she is “optimistic” about finalising a partnership with a new coach before the Australian Open. Raducanu has been without a coach since deciding not to stay ... Read more »

Besser spät als nie: Dybala rettet Juventus einen Punkt bei Inter

Juventus hat nicht gut gespielt beim Gastspiel in Mailand. Juventus hat aber gerade noch einen Punkt in diesem Derby d’Italia gerettet, so Dauerrivale Inter ins Mark getroffen und zugleich Milan ... Read more »

Managing Madrid Podcast: El Clasico Post-game: Real Madrid's 4th straight victory over Barcelona

© Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images This episode of the Managing Madrid Podcast is brought to you by Bisha Hotel in Toronto, which is where you should be booking your ... Read more »

Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes taken off with head injury in loss to Tennessee

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes left the game with a head injury as the Kansas City Chiefs slumped to a 27-3 defeat against the Tennessee Titans. Mahomes was on the ground after ... Read more »

Hamilton feliciteert rivaal Versappen: "Hij heeft het geweldig gedaan"

© Aangeboden door GPblog NL Lewis Hamilton maakte in de slotfase van de Verenigde Staten jacht op Max Verstappen, maar kon niet dichtbij genoeg komen om een serieuze poging tot ... Read more »

Verstappen over 'agressieve strategie': "Wist niet zeker of het zou lukken"

© Aangeboden door GPblog NL Max Verstappen wist zijn pole-position bij de start niet te verzilveren, maar de Nederlander maakte dankzij een uitstekende strategie van Red Bull Racing alles goed ... Read more »

Perez: "Ik denk dat dit fysiek mijn zwaarste race ooit was"

© Aangeboden door GPblog NL Na het dubbele podium tijdens de Grand Prix van Turkije behaalt Red Bull Racing opnieuw een dubbel podium in Austin. Sergio Perez eindigde op P3 ... Read more »

Volledige uitslag GP Verenigde Staten: Verstappen wint bloedstollende race

© Aangeboden door GPblog NL Max Verstappen kan opgelucht ademhalen. Na een bloedstollende race, waarbij Lewis Hamilton in de slotfase van de race vlak achter de Red Bull van de ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic