Brenden Aaronson Makes Journey From Philly to Salzburg


With the likes of Christian Pulisic, Zack Steffen, and Josh Sargent amongst the many American talents looking to make a splash in the Premier League this season, it’s time to have a look at the future USMNT internationals who are plying their trade on the continent.

There’s not only the multitude of American youngsters at all levels of football in Germany but there are also future USMNT stars plying their trade across the vast European football landscape in the 2021/22 season. 


We start with RB Salzburg midfielder Brenden Aaronson. The number 11 at the Austrian version of the Red Bull footballing stable announced himself to viewers across the globe with his winner in the Champions League qualifying stage versus Danish giants Brondby. With the first-leg victory in their back pocket, a positive result in the second leg will see Aaronson and his teammates qualify for the lucrative Champions League group stages.


After paying his dues with the Philadelphia Union Academy side, Aaronson burst onto the scene in the MLS as an 18-year-old, scoring on his professional debut against Atlanta United. 

He built on that debut performance and cemented himself as a mainstay in the midfield of the Union. He made 28 appearances in his first professional season as Philly finished 3rd in the Eastern conference, before being eliminated in the quarter-finals of the MLS Playoffs.

With a season under his belt, Brenden Aaronson took his game to another level as the Union finished the COVID-affected season top of the East this time around. Aaronson’s goals and assists from midfield were instrumental. After making the semi-finals of the ‘MLS is Back’ tournament as football returned in the States, Aaronson and the Union could not replicate their regular-season form. They bowed out at the Elimination Final stage to the New England Revs 2-0. That would prove to be the Jersey native’s final appearance for the Union.


On January 1, 2021, Brenden Aaronson made a US$6 million transfer to Austrian Bundesliga powerhouse RB Salzburg. He set about instantly making himself a fixture in the starting XI. Aaronson started 15 of the 20 post-winter break fixtures he was available for in the league, tasting defeat only once as his first season in Europe was a trophy-laden success.

As Salzburg completed a League/Cup double, Brenden’s impact could not be denied as he scored 5 and set up 5, the majority of which came from the left-wing.

A 4-1 defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League was the only low point in his debut season on the continent. Surely it will prove to be a learning experience for the young winger as he and his team set their sights on qualifying for Europe’s premier competition.

He said at the time to  “It’s crazy the level that Villarreal play at. For me, it was a learning process. Now, hopefully, I’ll go into the next Champions League to show what I can do.”


Along with bursting onto the club scene, he has made an impact on the national team since making his debut against Costa Rica early in 2020. He scored 3 goals in 7 appearances for the USMNT including a goal against a Swiss side that eliminated World Champions France at the Euros earlier this year.

The sky is the limit for the determined 20-year-old from New Jersey and he is treading a proven path to the very top of the game.

I find it hard to envisage a reality where he doesn’t become a huge name in international football.

USMNT Golden Generation Profile Series

Christian Pulisic      Gio Reyna      Sergino Dest    Weston McKennie    Zack Steffen    Tyler Adams

USMNT Stars in the Making Series

Yunus Musah   Reggie Cannon   Mark McKenzie   Brendon Aaronson   Chris Richards  Tim Weah


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