On Monday, United States midfielder Weston McKennie completed a loan move from Juventus to Premier League club Leeds United, where he'll play with fellow U.S. internationals Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams under an American coach, Jesse Marsch. For McKennie and Adams, however, it's a reunion of two teammates who go way back.
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The pair have known each other since they were 14 years old, having played together at various levels of the U.S. national youth teams, and they started alongside each other in all four of the USMNT's matches at the 2022 World Cup.
"Honestly, my whole decision was based on if I fit in the system or not and can I thrive there and can I be myself and play my style of football? But obviously it was like a cherry on top of the cake having them [Adams and Aaronson] here as well," McKennie told ESPN on Monday after completing his move to Elland Road. "Just to be able to play with Tyler and Brenden for club and for country makes it a lot easier to settle in."
To celebrate their reunion, Adams posted a photo on Instagram of him welcoming his new teammate to Leeds, and another one of them together as teenagers when they were working their way up the soccer ranks.
Sharing the image on his own Instagram story, McKennie commented: "Haha been a long time coming."
Adams surprised McKennie at his Leeds United unveiling, sneaking up behind his pal as he addressed the media. The two shared a laugh, a handshake and a friendly hug in what is perhaps a foreshadowing of the midfield partnership that will take over Elland Road in the second half of the Premier League season.
😂 "He had nothing to do with my decision!" Weston chats to Tyler... pic.twitter.com/nD52jee3s6— Leeds United (@LUFC) January 30, 2023
And for a proper welcome, Adams took the honors of conducting his fellow compatriot's first interview for the club's social media channels. In the middle of the laughs and jokes there were some more serious questions, such as which role McKennie likes to play, how it feels to be a Leeds player and what it means to play in the Premier League.
"You had nothing to do with my decision," McKennie joked when asked by Adams about his involvement in his move to Leeds, before adding: "Obviously, there's a big American support system here, that makes it easy to fit in."
The two ended the interview by pledging to try a local delicacy, the Yorkshire pudding wrap, for the first time together to truly ingratiate McKennie into life in Leeds.