Every young professional soccer player will remember their first start, no matter how the performance was or the result went.
Joe Scally’s first career Bundesliga start will surely bring back memories after the American defender went head-to-head with German giants Bayern Munich to begin his life with the Borussia Monchengladbach first team.
Scally made his second start for the German top flight club in a week, playing 90 minutes in a 1-1 opening day draw with Bayern Munich at Borussia Park.
The performance came just one week after the New York native made his competitive debut in Europe, starting in a 1-0 German Cup win over Kaiserslautern.
It’s been a whirlwind of a year for Scally, who began 2021 with Gladbach’s Under-23 team before earning the chance to work with the first team squad during preseason camp. Now with a pair of first team starts under his belt, the sky is the limit for the former NYCFC academy player who is striving to continue the recent trend of successful American talent in Europe.
“It helped me a lot to jump right into German Football and see the differences in the league,” Scally told ONE37pm. “It’s a lot of aggressive play and a lot of running and brings quicker pace, so jumping right into the Under-23’s certainly helped me get accustomed.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a major difference from the Under-23’s to the first team, because our U-23 team is very good,” Scally said. “The jump was quicker, but when you play with great players it makes it very easy for you. A lot of the squad has helped me out so much on and off the field, so it’s been an easy transition for me. The only difference has been playing as a left back as a right-footed player.”
Scally only made five senior appearances (four regular season, one playoff) with NYCFC in Major League Soccer before making the move to Gladbach in 2020. It didn’t take the right back long to force himself into the mix with the club’s Under-23 side, finishing his first season with 15 appearances, one goal scored, and over 1,200 minutes of competitive action under his belt.
The 18-year-old was one of the top performers during preseason camp, working with long-time Bundesliga manager Adi Hutter, who took over for the departed Marco Rose this summer. Hutter rewarded Scally’s efforts with a start in the first round of the German Cup and stuck with him against Bayern Munich last weekend.