Weston McKennie is loving life at Bundesliga side Schalke, where he is making a name for himself.
The 19-year-old midfielder has made 14 appearances for the the club this season and has helped Schalke to second in the Bundesliga standings.
The success in Germany earned the youngster a first call to the full U.S. national side in 2017, shining in his debut with a lovely goal against Portugal.
Despite the meteoric rise over the last year, the Texas native says he's feeling right at home with the Bundesliga club, though he does admit that sometimes it doesn't all feel real.
“Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure this is all real,” a beaming McKennie told Schalke’s official website. “My family, my teammates, the coaches and lots of other people at Schalke have been really helpful to this point in my journey, and I’m really thankful for that."
The chances came and the teenager took them well, earning nine starts for the club through the first half of the season and seems ready to take on whatever the second half of the campaign has to offer.
“[The coach] trusts me, and just like [Schalke U-19 coach] Norbert Elgert, he’s helping me to get better,” the Dallas native continued. “I feel very much at home here and I look forward to something new every day when I turn up at the club’s grounds. I would never have come close to going anywhere else, if I was to know how perfect Schalke was going to be for me.”
Schalke is a vastly improved team this season, having finished 10th in the league last term. McKennie has played his part in that turnaround and has become a regular in the side.
Bayern Munich currently holds and 11-point lead at the top of the table, and while the chances of Schalke making a run to a league title are not great, McKennie still has plenty to look forward to in 2018.
“I hope that we continue to rack up points and show how good we are as a team,” the midfielder said. “I want to contribute to that as best I can. The team spirit is amazing. I think that rubs off on the fans too.
"My personal goal is very clear: to get better each and every day. I’m working really hard to do that.”
Schalke returns to the pitch for matchday 18 on Saturday with a tricky test on the road against fifth-placed RB Leipzig.