Taylor Booth is a Bayern Munich prodigy grooming to become the next poster boy of growing American soccer.
There is simply no denying the fact that Bayern Munich are the team to beat right now.
Fresh off their treble-winning 2019/20 campaign, the Bavarians are showing shades of their 2013 form under Jupp Heynckes and are ready to assert their dominance in Europe yet again this season under the leadership of Hansi Flick.
Following their triumph in 2013, Bayern Munich’s idea of success was centred around star players and integrating them into a particular system. It was advocated by Pep Guardiola, who signed a bunch of top-class footballers throughout his three-year spell in Bavaria while his successors in Carlo Ancelotti and Niko Kovac followed a similar pattern.
That has changed in recent years, however, as Bayern Munich have now appeared more willing to look towards their youth department for first-team options. Alphonso Davies, in particular, can be used as an ideal example as the Canadian, though not technically a product of the Bayern academy, swiftly became one of the best full-backs in Europe under Flick last season.
Looking to follow the footsteps of Davies, players like Oliver Batista-Meier, Sarpreet Singh, Joshua Zirkzee and Jamal Musiala have all emerged as potential first-team options for Bayern Munich over the past 12 months. Another such player looking to follow a similar path is the United States midfielder, Taylor Booth.
A product of the Zions Bank Real Academy – a sport training facility, which is a part of Major League Soccer outfit Real Salt Lake, Booth had initially moved to Bayern Munich at the start of last year in search of a breakthrough in German football, like many of his compatriots before him in Christian Pulisic, Josh Sargent and Giovanni Reyna.
He has since become a player worth keeping an eye on. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at Booth’s prospects at FC Bayern as the youngster looks to achieve the American footballing dream, in Germany.
Profiling Taylor Booth
Booth was born with torticollis, a condition caused by his neck being kinked in the womb, resulting in insufficient blood flow to his neck muscles.
But, that didn’t deter him from being enthusiastic about football even from an early age, partly thanks to his parents having a footballing background. His mother, Kelli Booth, earned All-Region, All-State and All-American honours and received a scholarship to Utah State.
Meanwhile, his brother, Zach, has recently earned a move to the Leicester City academy while his dad, Chad, played collegiate soccer for the Weber High School in Pleasant View, Utah. He coached Taylor in the early part of the youngster’s life.
📌 Chris Richards (20 – Bayern Munich)
📌 Taylor Booth (19 – Bayern Munich)
📌 Evan Rotundo (16 – Schalke 04)
📌 Orrin Mckinze Gains II, nada mal el nombre 👌 (22 – Hannover 96)
📌 Lennard Maloney (20 – Dortmund)
📌 Ulysses Llanez (19 – Wolfsburg)
Dale que todavía falta ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/A7d8ZlY3nr
— La Pizarra del DT (@LaPizarraDelDT_) August 27, 2020
Although it wasn’t until 2019 when he’d earned a move to Munich, Booth, despite suffering from torticollis at an early age, had always showcased tremendous vision and ability to pick out passes, especially during his time at Real Salt Lake academy. Booth’s gifts in passing complements his style of play, usually revolving around the number six role.
Much like ex-Borussia Dortmund star Julian Weigl, the 19-year-old is an anchorman in midfield. He can operate in the deepest role in the middle of the pitch, acting as an auxiliary transition player between the defence and midfield during the possession phases. He can then pick the ball, look up and find passes further up the pitch.
Standing at 1.74m, Booth’s low centre of gravity becomes useful against an intense press, as it allows him to quickly maneuver the ball and evade any pressure exerted by the opposition. The youngster has also showcased a good sense of positioning, often offering himself as a passing option throughout the midfield region.
In modern football, passing between the lines has become a vital asset for any technically astute midfielder or defender. Booth, in that regard, can not only find attackers with his laser passes but is also capable of switching the play using his accurate cross-field passes.
What Are His Chances At Bayern Munich?
Booth has had a swift rise in the Bayern Munich academy so far, with his impressive performances in the Under-19 Bundesliga last season earning him a promotion to the reserve side.
The midfielder even featured in two 3.Liga games during the back end of last season, thus kick-starting his professional career. And in the new season, he is destined for a more prominent role for the reserve side.
In fact, Booth may well feature alongside the likes of Musiala and Zirkzee, both of whom have broken into the first-team, while turning out for FC Bayern II in 3.Liga this season. Musiala, in particular, could potentially create a formidable connection with the 19-year-old in central midfield, providing more balance and creativity for the side, led by Holger Seitz.
— TheSecretScout (@TheSecretScout_) September 18, 2020
As far as first-team is concerned, Bayern Munich do lack depth in central midfield following the recent departure of Thiago Alcantara. It has left Hansi Flick with only two viable options in Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, with doubts looming over the long-term future of players like Corentin Tolisso, Javi Martinez and Mickael Cuisance.
Unfortunately, for Booth, he still has a long way to go before he can announce himself at the highest level of football. There is also a prospect of Bayern Munich signing a quality midfielder to provide cover for Thiago.
Flick hasn’t shied away from giving youngsters the opportunity to shine, with Musiala notably scoring a goal after coming on from the bench against Schalke. However, the Bavarians have also shipped out talents like Oliver Batista-Meier, Woo-Yeong Jeong and Sarpreet Singh on loan this summer so a lot could depend on how Booth performs in the third division of the Bundesliga this season.
There are certain question marks over the player’s lack of physical prowess, so improving on them could go a long way in helping Booth carving out a future for himself this summer.
Bundesliga Building USMNT’s Future
Regardless of Booth’s success at Bayern Munich, there is no question about the fact that Bundesliga is building the future of the USMNT.
While the influx of Americans was always a thing in the German top-flight, it has exploded in recent years, with young players throughout the States moving to Germany, in search of making a breakthrough at the highest level of football.
Christian Pulisic of Borussia Dortmund was the biggest success story, followed by FC Schalke’s Weston McKennie, who has earned a move to Juventus this summer.
Dortmund, meanwhile, have another talent in their hands, in the shape of Giovanni Reyna. The 17-year-old notably scored the club’s first goal in the Bundesliga this season, which was also his first in the German top-flight. He is expected to earn a prominent role in Lucien Favre’s first-team in the ongoing campaign and is destined to win his first cap for the USMNT in the near future.
17-year old American starlet Gio Reyna scores his first ever Bundesliga goal for Dortmund with a pivot of his hips and a clinical finish. Growing up in Bedford, NY, the son of US Legend Claudio, may it be the first of many to come 🙌🇺🇸 🇩🇪 pic.twitter.com/vAI4EKHfpa
— roger bennett (@rogbennett) September 19, 2020
Other Americans plying their trade in the Bundesliga include Tyler Adams of RB Leipzig and John Anthony Brooks of VfL Wolfsburg. Werder Bremen striker Josh Sargent is also set to become the club’s primary forward option this season, alongside Yuya Osako.
Needless to say, we should all keep a close eye on the USMNT for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup and Taylor Booth could become the next poster boy of an ever-evolving footballing scene, in the United States of America.