Anonymous American: Joe Gyau
College Contributor Network
With the start of a new World Cup cycle, USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann has begun to introduce some fresh faces into the senior national team picture. This recurring column is meant to help you keep up with all the newbies who step on the pitch for the Red, White, and, Blue.
Full Name: Joseph Claude Gyau
Current Club: Borussia Dortmund II
Senior National Team Debut: Sept. 3, 2014 (1-0 W vs. Czech Republic)
Joe Gyau was born in the United States in Tampa, Florida and grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. Gyau comes from a family with a fantastic soccer pedigree. His grandfather, Joseph Agyemang-Gyau, was a Ghanaian international who won two African Cup of Nations titles in 1963 and 1965.
Agyemang-Gyau moved to the United States to play professional soccer in 1968 and played in the inaugural season of the North American Soccer League (NASL). Joe's father, Phillip Gyau, had a short stint with the US National team between 1989 and 1990, and is now the head coach of the men's soccer team at Howard University in D.C.
Like a number of players in the current pool, Gyau is a dual international and had the option to play for either the United States or Ghana. Like his father, Joe decided to represent the Stars and Stripes. Gyau was apart of the United States' residency program in Bradenton, Florida, and was capped at the U-15, U-17, U-20, and U-23 levels.
Gyau began his professional career in 2010 when he moved from Maryland to Germany to become a part of Hoffenheim's Academy. Gyau was on the books at the Bundesliga club from 2010 to 2014, and spent most of his time there playing for the club's U-23 team (Hoffenheim II) that competes in the German fourth division.
Overall, Gyau appeared in just two games for the Hoffenheim first team for a grand total of 50 minutes. He did spend the 2012-2013 campaign on loan to 2. Bundesliga squad FC St. Pauli, but only managed to appear in 15 league games without recording a goal or an assist.
In June of 2014, Hoffenheim agreed to transfer Gyau to Borussia Dormund's under-23 team, Borussia Dortmund II. In his short time with his new club Gyau has appeared eight times and scored two goals for Dortmund's younger team. Perhaps more encouragingly, Gyau has trained well enough to earn a spot on the first team bench on two separate occasions, though he has yet to make his debut appearance.
Gyau's first appearance for the senior national team was rated somewhere between adequate and impressive. He logged the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic and made some dangerous runs from the top left spot in Jurgen Klinsmann's 4-3-3 formation.
Of the three youngsters who made their USMNT debuts against the Czechs, Gyau was the standout, looking confident and comfortable on the ball throughout the contest.
It is important to point out that although Gyau had no trouble finding the ball, he didn't do a whole lot with it. In a piece for MLS.com, Matthew Doyle astutely pointed out that Gyau connected on just three forward passes the whole game -- none of which came in the final third.
After residing on the fringes of the senior national team picture for a bit, expect to see Gyau in the Stars and Stripes a lot more in the coming months. After starting and playing the full 90 minutes against the Czechs, it would seem that Gyau has solidly placed himself in the good graces of manager Jurgen Klinsmann.
At the club level, Gyau will probably continue to log major minutes for Borussia Dortmund II -- a true spot on the German giant's first team is far too lofty an expectation at the moment.
Right now Gyau's major strengths lie with his athleticism; he is a speedster who has impressive strength for his size. If Gyau begins to find some vision and creativity to match with that athleticism he could become a regular for the USMNT for years to come.
Kevin Case is a junior at Syracuse University. He is a loyal D.C. Sports fan, has a growing love for American soccer, and would love to beat you in FIFA. Follow him on Twitter: @KCase_Closed