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Americans in UEFA Champions League 2023/24: USMNT players in Europe’s top club competition | Sporting News



The 2023/24 Champions League has now reached the quarterfinal stage, bringing fans from around the globe together to watch the best clubs in Europe duke it out for continental supremacy.

Americans have been participating in increased numbers, as USMNT stars begin to attract heightened attention from top European clubs in recent years.

While American participation in the Champions League is nothing new, the volume in which they are involved has certainly reached new heights.

The Sporting News reviews the individual players with USMNT ties who are attached to clubs that took part in the group stage of the Champions League, and which of them remain in the competition.

MORE: When is the 2024 UEFA Champions League final

USMNT players in 2023/24 Champions League group stage

Christian Pulisic led a core group of Americans in Champions League play this year, with USMNT regulars at big clubs like AC Milan, Celtic, and Borussia Dortmund. The trio of Sergino Dest, Ricardo Pepi, and Malik Tillman are playing together at Dutch side PSV, with Dest already an established regular within the squad.

You will notice the absence of Juventus duo Weston McKennie and Tim Weah from the list, as the Italian giants are not participating in European competition this season as fallout from their financial scandal last season. Juve were docked 10 points in Serie A action last year, which saw them finish fifth in the table, and having failed to qualify for the Champions League anyways, they were barred from European competition this year by UEFA.

Sam Vines will be bitterly disappointed after he was set to play for Royal Antwerp against Barcelona, Porto, and Shakhtar Donetsk in Group H, but his Belgian club left him off their group stage roster by mistake, meaning he was unable to participate in this year’s competition.

The below table shows their overall total stats in Champions League competition. 

Player Club Group Apps Goals
Sergino Dest PSV Group B 28 1
Ricardo Pepi PSV Group B 8 1
Malik Tillman PSV Group B 15 0
Brenden Aaronson Union Berlin Group C 14 0
Cameron Carter-Vickers Celtic Group E 8 0
Yunus Musah AC Milan Group F 5 0
Christian Pulisic AC Milan Group F 54 8
Gio Reyna Borussia Dortmund Group F 18 0
Zack Steffen* Man City Group G 0 0
Sam Vines* Royal Antwerp Group H 2 0

* This player was not selected to the club’s group stage roster and therefore could not appear in group-stage matches.

Are there any American players left in the 2023/24 Champions League?

USA’s representation in the 2023/24 Champions League ended at the Round of 16 stage.

PSV trio Sergino Dest, Ricardo Pepi, and Malik Tillman were eliminated at the hands of Borussia Dortmund. Gio Reyna, although still technically a Dortmund player, joined Nottingham Forest on loan in January and will therefore play no further part in this season’s tournament.

Union Berlin, AC Milan, Celtic and Royal Antwerp all failed to progress beyond the group stage. Manchester City did, but Zack Steffen is now playing in MLS for Colorado Rapids.

Has an American won the Champions League?

Christian Pulisic became the first American player to ever win the UEFA Champions League title when he hoisted the Cup with Chelsea back in 2021.

The USMNT star was a key part of the Blues’ title run, scoring a key goal against Real Madrid in the semifinals and appearing in the final off the bench.

He is the only American to ever lift the Champions League trophy, as many before him have tried and failed. Pulisic was not the first American to reach the Champions League semifinals, however, as DaMarcus Beasley did so with PSV back in 2008, and Tyler Adams was the second to do so with RB Leipzig in 2020.

However, more European milestones are falling each and every year as more and more U.S. internationals end up in the Champions League. 2021 marked the first time six Americans played in the Champions League on the same matchday, as the U.S. growth continues to build.

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