Opinion: Why Ricardo Pepi’s move to German Soccer is worth More than $20 million


Gabriel Parra-Montesdeoca, Reporter

May 29, 2021, marks the final of the UEFA Champions League, where English sides Manchester City face off against rival Chelsea F.C. Both sides know what is at stake, and even before the match begins, history has been made. Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic is the first American to make it to the finals of the Champions League in its sixty-seven-year history, and the first American to be a part of the winning team as well. 

But halfway across the world, another young American is making waves in the world of soccer, waves that we would see come crashing into the beach of international stardom only six months later.

Ricardo Pepi is an up and coming player, who, after a successful 2021 season with FC Dallas, and even debuting for the USMNT (US Men’s National Team) at age 18, Pepi decided it was time to move on from his homegrown club of FC Dallas, and make a big move, a move that would come in the form German side Augsburg, bringing the Texan to Germany, all for a fee of $20 million.

Going from the MLS, or Major League Soccer, a league regarded by most as a “retirement league,” to one of the world’s top five leagues is a big step up. To describe it to someone who doesn’t know that much about soccer, Pepi moving to Germany is the equivalent of a high school swim team star going to the Olympics.

Looking at what Pepi has done so far, it makes sense that Pepi is receiving all the attention he is. Scoring a goal every other game internationally is no small feat, much less for a 19-year-old. Even on a club level, even when Pepi was younger still, he had moments of class that echoed greats from the past, giving us an inkling of what Pepi can do on his day. In the eyes of many pundits, including me, we feel that Pepi has the potential to become a world-class player, and given the right teams, right coaching, right opportunities, there’s no telling what Pepi can do in the future.

But in the end, statistics, goals, form, none of that speaks the volumes that Pepi’s transfer has spoken. Pepi went from being a regular person, in a regular US city, never going abroad to play on a club level, and yet, at the age of 19, is already playing at a level people can only dream of. Soccer is a sport dominated by Europeans and the wealthy, there is seldom a player who can rise above these difficulties, and attain high levels of success. 

While there is much to see about what will happen with Ricardo Pepi’s career, we can be certain that we Americans now have a new icon to look up to in the world of soccer.

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