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Player spotlight

Now a Swiss Champion, Siebatcheu sees a bright future at club level and with the USMNT

By any measure, Jordan Siebatcheu has had a great season. He has rediscovered his scoring touch, won a Swiss title, and earned his first caps with the U.S. national team. Now looking into the future, he will likely have options at the club level this summer while also hoping to remain with the U.S. team for the start of its World Cup qualifying campaign. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
April 27, 2021
5:10 PM

LAST YEAR WHEN the soccer world stopped due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Jordan Siebatcheu faced a lot of questions about the direction of his career. He was entering his prime years as a player but was struggling for minutes at Rennes in France. He needed a change of scenery and it was critical that his next move be successful.

It was only in 2018 when Siebatacheu moved from Stade de Reims, where he was a star in Ligue 2, to Rennes for an eye-opening fee of just under $10 million. The next two seasons, however, yielded just over 1000 combined minutes of playing time and three goals in Ligue 1.

Fortunately for Siebatcheu, in 2020 he was able to secure a season-long loan to Swiss champions BSC Young Boys.

The start of his loan was not easy. While going through a period of adjustment, he also dealt with his own case of COVID-19. It wasn’t until mid-December when playing time took off and the goals came – in droves.

“First it was a new club, and a new country,” Siebatcheu told ASN through an interpreter. “Last season I didn't play much plus there was COVID-19, I needed to get fit and I also needed to get to know my team. I needed time to adapt. When they gave me more time in December, I was able to play well. Soon, I was back at the level I know I can be.”

In consecutive games on December 19 and December 22, Siebatcheu scored back-to-back braces. Then on February 2, he scored a hat trick in Young Boy’s 4-1 win over Zurich.

For Siebatcheu, who turned 25 on Monday, his best moments came in late February in the Europa League in a knockout round against a top-6 Bundesliga club in Bayer Leverkusen. It was a bigger test than the Swiss Super League, and Siebatcheu passed with flying colors. 

Against Bayer Leverkusen, Young Boys was dominant in both legs winning 4-3 at home and then 2-0 in Germany for a 6-3 aggregate victory. Siebatcheu scored three times and was the best player of the tie.

“It was a very important moment for me,” Siebatcheu recalled. “It felt great to play against great players and it showed I was capable of performing against top opponents and top players.”

Despite falling to Ajax in the next round, the season continued to be a huge success for Siebatcheu. On April 18 following a 3-0 win over Lugano, Young Boys clinched its fourth straight Super League title – with seven games remaining.

Little is of importance for Young Boys in the remaining games but Siebatcheu continues to play even though he is there on loan. On Sunday, he scored his 11th goal of the Super League season (and 14th in all competitions) in a 2-1 win over Sion.

“It has been an amazing year with being able to help Young Boys achieve its top goal in winning the championship,” Siebatcheu said. “Altogether, it's been a great season. The club did very well and they really welcomed me into the group. When you feel welcome and you feel comfortable, it is very easy to perform well. I worked very hard for it.”

In the weeks and months ahead, however, Siebatcheu will begin to think about his future. The purpose of this loan was both to be an asset to Young Boys in its pursuit of the Swiss title and also to boost his career.

With both objectives met, his career is back on the rise. He has likely given himself more options for the future – including a possible return to Young Boys.

“While I was here on loan, I wasn’t thinking about the future much,” Siebatcheu explained. “I had two objectives. The first was to help the team achieve its primary goal of winning the championship - which happened. After that, there was there were individual and personal goals - which I also achieved. Now I will focus a little bit more on my future. We will have a conversation with Young Boys and Rennes to find the right next step.”

The breakthrough at Young Boys has also been important for Siebatcheu because it has paved the route to join the U.S. national team. In March, he came off the bench for his first cap in a win over Jamaica. Three days later, he started in a 2-1 win over Northern Ireland.

After his performances against Bayer Leverkusen, rumors of a call-up began to surface. U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter, however, said that he had been tracking Siebatcheu for much longer.

“He got on my radar during my first European trip in December 2018,” Berhalter explained. “I actually went over there and watched him play live. We've been talking on and off with him since then. It's been great to follow him. I don't know him well yet, obviously. You still want the best for each player. To see him struggle a little bit in France, head to Switzerland and now with the goal rate he's at, it's great to see. Speaking with him, he's a great guy. He fits well into the group... I think he's a good talent and he's found a good level [at Young Boys] where he can score goals.”

Born in Washington, DC, Siebatcheu moved to France when he was very young and it was there where he blossomed as a player. Holding eligibility to play for the United States, France, and Cameroon, Siebatcheu was invited to play with the U.S. U-23 team in 2015 but was denied a release by his club. He made his international debut in June 2017 with France’s U-21 team for a pair of friendlies where he scored against Albania in his debut.

In 2018, interim U.S. manager Dave Sarachan attempted to call him up but Siebatcheu wanted to focus on Rennes after his lucrative transfer. Now with him playing well, the timing was right to  finally join the team.

“The choice to play for the United States was pretty easy,” Siebatcheu said. “I've been in contact with U.S. Soccer for awhile now. I was speaking with them back when I was at Rennes. When they came back recently and ask about my interest, I was really happy. I didn't even have to think about it. It was something I had in my mind for a long time. Getting called up to the U.S. team was a priority for me.”

“I have always had family in the United States,” he added. "I always loved the United States and the lifestyle and everything about it. It is great to be with them.”

In his first U.S. camp, Siebatcheu adjusted well both in the games and with the team during training and life off the field. The U.S. team is young and many of the players have known each other since days with the youth national team.

In comparison, Siebatcheu is joining the team at an older age with little familiarity with the team.  Regardless, everyone insisted it was a smooth adjustment bringing him into the squad.

“We all got along really well with him,” U.S. defender Matt Miazga said. “We were all new guys at one point. We know it is not easy to come into a new team where everyone is so tight. Sometimes when there is a new guy, you want to bring him into the circles early, get to know him, help integrate. We all did that and that was good.”

“As a player, I think he's good,” Miazga continued. “He's obviously a big and strong striker who's having a good season. He was at Rennes before and they are a good club. He's obviously experienced but he's fairly young. If he keeps performing, it's better for the national team. It's good to have American players playing in all types of leagues.”

Siebatcheu agreed that it was a great experience but he also knows that the competition for future call-ups will be strong. The U.S. player pool continues to expand and perform well – even at the striker position. Existing options Josh Sargent, Tim Weah Gyasi Zardes, and Jozy Altidore remain but are now joined by upstarts such as Daryl Dike and Nicholas Gioacchini.

But Siebatcheu is both confident and happy these days. He is now a league champion in Switzerland and has Europa League experience to go along with it. Looking ahead, he knows the World Cup qualifiers are emerging and wants to play a role in helping the team get to Qatar.

“The transition into the team was smooth and very easy because the team was very welcoming,” Siebatcheu said. “For me, everything was clicking really well. It was quite easy to adapt. The players are all young and are still understanding each other.”

“The team is really good,” he said. “We can see with all the big clubs the players play. Because the team is young, there is still a lot work that must be done. Even if the team is young, it is mature. Qualifying is so important for the team and the country. Everyone is excited for it.”

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