After being pursued by Bundesliga side Schalke for the past couple of seasons, United States youth international Haji Wright appears to finally be headed to Europe. And one of the most promising attacking prospects produced by the United States the past decade is turning down offers from MLS to do so.
A league source tells Metro New York that Wright will be joining Schalke this spring. Wright, who is currently 17 years old, is not able to sign yet with the club until March but the source said that a deal has already been agreed to. The Bundesliga giants currently sit in sixth in the league, just three points outside of a Champions League spot. Schalke did not respond to a request from Metro New York for confirmation of this signing.
One of the most hyped players currently in the youth ranks, Wright spent last season with the New York Cosmos, who won the NASL’s Soccer Bowl this year. He made just three appearances with the senior team and didn’t score although he did feature somewhat regularly with the squad’s ‘B Team.’ He was released by the Cosmos this December after failing to make much of a mark with the second division side.
Before he linked up with the Cosmos, Wright did train with Schalke this past spring where he reportedly impressed. Other European teams at that time showed interest in signing the talented young attacker, who is perhaps best suited as a forward but could potentially grow to be a wide player.
Wright has featured regularly with the United States U-17 national team and now recently with the U-18 national team, this after he originally came up through the famed Los Angeles Galaxy academy system.
It remains to be seen if the sizzle will come together and become a complete player but judging from his youth national team displays, there is clear-cut potential.
He is good with both feet and times his runs into space well. In November of 2014, he scored a brace against Brazil's U-17 team, just one of many sparkling moments he's had for the youth national team in recent years.
Physically he's strong and there is a clear comfort with the ball at his feet. He is also adventurous and daring – some might say too much so – in the final third.
The league source said that the Galaxy “made numerous attempts to sign him” as part of their MLS side but that Wright was intent on signing in Europe.