In recent years, the US has emerged as a breeding ground for talented players, especially for ones who end up in the Bundesliga – Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, John Brooks, Matthew Hoppe – you name them.
American defensive midfielder Tyler Adams began his career at the Red Bulls Academy in New York. He shone as a youngster with the U/13, U/14 and U/16 sides and eventually was given a chance with the New York Red Bulls II reserve side that played in the United Soccer League. After just couple of months with the reserve side, he turned professional as NY Red Bulls offered him a first team start – a goal-scoring debut against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in a friendly.
His first professional senior contract arrived in November 2015 before going on to spend majority of the next season on the bench. Adams’ first break came in 2017 as he became a full-time starter in the MLS. His coach at New York and former RB Leipzig assistant coach Jesse Marsch (head coach from the 2021-22 season) lured Adams to NYRB’s sister-club in Leipzig in January 2019.
Then manager Ralf Rangnick was immediately impressed by the youngster’s potential after watching him play for the first time. “We have been closely following the development of Tyler Adams for a long time. He was an absolute top performer at the New York Red Bulls. We are convinced that Tyler is able to immediately strengthen us in the central-midfield. We are very happy will take the next step in his development in the Bundesliga with us,” he said.
On the national level, he capped without break for the USA U-17 and U-20 team at the FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cups. His praiseworthy displays got him a well-deserved senior national team debut for the USA Men’s National Team few years ago, when he was just 18.
The now 22-year-old midfielder has etched himself as a proper starter, after two seasons of uncertainty amid injury concerns. At such a young age, Adams already has more than 170 senior appearances at the club level. For someone still at the beginning of his career, he possesses a strong mature sense of understanding and play. His versatility poises him to function in an efficient manner all around the center-half. Name a position in midfield and Adams probably plays it – defensive/central midfielder, right midfielder, right-back, wing-back, box-to-box; he can cover it all, even on the left-wing.
He has gone on to achieve a credible holding midfielder status in the 2020-21 season for Die Rotten Bullen under Julian Nagelsmann. His notable performances has come mainly due to his prowess in four key departments – passing, vision, maintaining the tempo of play and creating space. The intelligence quotient Adams holds is remarkable for a player his age. As a central midfielder, he does equally well on the back-foot as he does on the front-foot with attacking play.
Defensively, Adams is not the strongest opponent one can face – as he stands at just 5’8” without a body of a hunk. But, his tactical understanding to break up passing lines and intercept offensive plays makes him a fantastic defender. A defender who is capable of initiating counter-attacks with just a single pass or hold-up play. Additionally, he does not shy away from sliding into challenges – to take one for the team, so to speak.
He once described himself as “engine of the team” and that is precisely what Adams looks to serve as, with his energetic offensive mindedness and resilient defensive skills. Tyler Adams possesses a strong work ethic and is known for his professionalism among his teammates. Players having a well-rounded personality on the pitch like him are hard to come by.
With his continued hard work and hunger to develop further, the American national will undoubtedly attract the interest from some of Europe’s top teams in the coming years, but he may as well continue his role as an anchor in midfielder for the Red Bulls.