Joe Scally Q&A: Gladbach defender talks USMNT, trial by hearth vs. Bayern


On this version of his weekly column, ESPN’s lead Bundesliga commentator Derek Rae sits down for a particular one-one-one dialog with Borussia Monchengladbach defender and United States males’s nationwide staff prospect Joe Scally.

It is a uncommon deal with for a commentator to have the ability to get to know the gamers we cowl commonly that bit higher. I wished to share what I came upon in regards to the 19-year-old from Lake Grove, New York, and there is not any higher means to try this than to publish a written transcription of our fulfilling dialog final week. This was in fact earlier than the 6-0 defeat Gladbach suffered by the hands of Borussia Dortmund on the weekend.

We lined all the pieces from his arrival in Monchengladbach, to a high-profile Bundesliga debut in opposition to the easiest, to what Joe has realized working with execs like Stefan Lainer and Ramy Bensebaini, in addition to the turmoil in Gladbach when a membership legend walked away not too long ago. We additionally spoke in regards to the USMNT and his starvation to be a daily a part of the setup, with a spot on the World Cup beckoning for the USA.

I hope you take pleasure in this chat.

(Editor’s Word: This dialog has been calmly edited for readability.)

Rae: Joe, let’s return in time two years. At that time, what do you know about Gladbach?

Scally: A few years in the past, I did not actually know a lot about Monchengladbach. They had been within the Champions League, which I all the time watched once I was youthful, so I knew the identify, however not a lot in regards to the membership and mainly how nice it’s as I do know now.

Rae: Max Eberl, the extremely revered former Gladbach sporting director who not too long ago left the membership, advised the story of your discovery by scouting director Steffen Korell, and the way they then had, in his phrases, a “fantasy” of bringing you over from the USA as quickly as they might. Had been you conscious?

Scally: I do know they first contacted me perhaps three or 4 years in the past, once I was 16 — nonetheless a very long time earlier than I used to be 18 and will ultimately transfer over to Germany and to Europe. It is loopy that he mentioned it is a fantasy and all the pieces, and to listen to that from Steffen and Max is superb… that simply makes me so blissful.

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Rae: Whenever you arrived in January 2021 on the age of 18, Gladbach did not rush you, as a substitute supplying you with time to adapt. Do you admire that method?

Scally: Sure, in fact. I believe the plans they’ve laid out for me to date have been superb. To come back right here, to get used to German soccer, play with the second staff immediately and prepare with the primary staff, there was no higher solution to get began. The primary half of the season has gone nice, the second half additionally. It has been superb.

Rae: Let’s return to the beginning of the season, Gladbach vs. Bayern Munich. As a commentator, I used to be doing my homework for our protection and studying up on you. Coach Adi Hutter mentioned he actually favored what he’d seen from you in coaching and would not be afraid to throw you in — and also you had been thrown in at left-back slightly than the right-back place you’d been enjoying. Give us your reminiscences of that big day; was it a baptism of fireside?

Scally: Sure, such as you mentioned, I used to be entering into at left-back in opposition to the very best staff arguably on this planet. I watched them rising up, everybody is aware of them, so simply desirous about all the pieces the day earlier than, the nerves had been kicking in. However you then see the gamers — Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane, mainly everybody you’ve got grown up watching — it is bizarre, however it form of settles you down. You have been watching these guys each single week and you recognize all the pieces they’ll do.

The nerves had been so excessive, however on the sphere all of it simply went away. Lewandowski proper in entrance of me. It was superb.

Rae: And there was an incident involving you and Robert Lewandowski fairly early on. Do you recollect it?

Scally: Sure, sure (laughing)! He was dribbling at me on a counterattack, the ball simply acquired a bit of off his foot and I went in for the deal with and he stepped on my foot — the followers started chanting my identify. It was loopy.

Rae: Sure, the Gladbach followers took to you rapidly. With accidents to Lainer and Bensebaini, it was clear you had been going to be enjoying extra within the Hinrunde than anybody anticipated. In all probability greater than you your self anticipated?

Scally: Sure, nobody anticipated me to come back in and play each single sport within the first half of the season, and I am very grateful I acquired to play all these video games. In fact accidents are very unlucky, however to exit and play how I performed, I am very blissful and thought it was an ideal first half of the season.

Rae: your function for the reason that winter break, you’ve got been coming off the bench. Lainer has been match once more for some time, and with him and Bensebaini, I am positive you be taught rather a lot working with such execs, however there may be additionally an inside competitors with them. Stroll us via how you consider that.

Scally: Everybody needs to start out [for the first team], however these are senior guys, so for instance once I’m coaching on the best, [Lainer] will all the time assist me, giving me little ideas both on the defensive aspect or the attacking aspect. He is a veteran, an ideal participant. Similar with [Bensebaini] on the left if I am coaching there. He’ll inform me little issues like since I am right-footed, I can minimize in, making it a lot simpler. So though it is all competitors, we’re a staff and all of us assist one another.

Rae: Max Eberl’s departure dominated the information not too long ago. How arduous was it for everybody to play via that interval, particularly with outcomes struggling?

Scally: He is a legend on the membership. I’ve solely been right here for one 12 months, so I do not know as a lot about him because the senior gamers, however all the pieces they are saying about him is nice, he was so extremely regarded right here and he’ll all the time be remembered. It was a really tough interval, however we knew we needed to stick collectively and get the win in opposition to Augsburg. All of us talked about it, we knew it was going to occur. Now we will hopefully transfer ahead with a brand new sporting director and get again heading in the right direction.

Rae: In a number of phrases, describe your coach, Adi Hutter. A mix of Austrian allure with a tricky aspect when wanted?

Scally: I agree with you! He is a really calm coach, which you’ll see on TV, however you may see he is additionally very emotional. When issues go unsuitable, he is all the time there that will help you get again heading in the right direction. Should you make a foul contact within the sport, he is not going to go and scream at you and produce your confidence down, he’ll be extra like, “Prepare for the following one.” At coaching he’ll get on you and say, “Come on, choose up your contact.” Such as you say, he is charming, with an Austrian allure, however on the similar time he is robust on you.

Rae: Let’s speak in regards to the U.S. nationwide staff. You had been referred to as up in November, however did not get to play. You were not referred to as up in January. How a lot would it not imply to you to play in your nation on this pivotal 12 months, with the World Cup this winter?

Scally: It is everybody’s dream to play in a World Cup and that one camp once I was round all the blokes, the coaches, all the pieces, it simply felt like I slot in, that is the place I belong, that is the place I can play. So in fact I am taking a look at this subsequent camp hoping to get in, however the primary objective is the World Cup, and any means I can assist the staff, I am wiling to try this. And sure, to play for the U.S., it is superb whenever you placed on the jersey and have the crest in your chest. It is a totally different feeling.

Rae: Has there been numerous communication between you and U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter, who performed in Germany himself?

Scally: Yeah, I imply, not a lot. Earlier than I went to the primary camp again in November, there was numerous communication and in the course of the camp. Then truly not a lot, so we’ll see what occurs.

Rae: How tough was it being a spectator from afar in January, having now had a style of it?

Scally: I watched a lot of the video games with Giovanni Reyna. He was at my home as a result of we had been each not on the camp. We simply need the staff to win, to go far and qualify for the World Cup, as a result of that is the objective and the U.S. deserves to be on the World Cup. I used to be simply cheering them on as a result of I used to be with most of them on the final camp. I am mates with a lot of the guys now and simply wished them to win.

Rae: I hear your mom was a fairly good participant. Did she go her soccer abilities to you?

Scally: (Laughs) Sure, she used to play, she was good. I suppose you can say I get most of it from my mother as a result of my dad performed basketball.

Rae: What’s their routine on weekends? I think about they observe you on TV?

Scally: Sure, they watch it each morning on ESPN+. My dad is now beginning to perceive soccer as a result of he was principally basketball his complete life, so he is now beginning to get the hold of it, which is sweet. And sure, they all the time watch on ESPN whether or not its’s at 9:30, 11:30: they’re all the time there.

Rae: You talked about your friendship with Giovanni Reyna. Whose German is healthier?

Scally: His German is healthier than mine. Each time we exit to eat, he is the one ordering and asking the questions. My German’s not so good, however it’s humorous and loopy to assume we had been each in New York, enjoying collectively on youth groups, and now we’re simply an hour away from one another in Germany, which is nice.

Rae: The Bundesliga has turn into a magnet for younger American gamers. Ricardo Pepi, George Bello and Kevin Paredes arrived not too long ago. You are going to be seeing numerous acquainted faces.

Scally: Sure, its nice to see everybody from the U.S. attaining their goals. I believe mainly that is now 4 gamers from our U17 World Cup staff right here, which has been nice to see. I performed in opposition to George two weeks in the past, Pepi the following week. It is nice to see all these guys in Germany dwelling our goals.

Rae: What’s it in regards to the German means that strikes a chord?

Scally: The younger American gamers who’ve come to Germany have been given enjoying time and probabilities. It began with Christian Pulisic when he led the pathway at Dortmund. Now you may transfer on to larger golf equipment and obtain your goals. The pathway via Germany has been nice to date for American gamers, so I simply hope increasingly hold coming.

Rae: Lastly, what’s your goal for the remainder of the season with Gladbach?

Scally: I simply wish to hold getting extra minutes and enjoying time and gaining extra expertise via the gamers and coaches, and naturally we wish to make the Europa League, get again in Europe.

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