Chris Richards Profile

Name Chris Richards
Born Mar 28, 2000
Age 22 years
Birthplace Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Height 6ft 2ins

Crystal Palace defender Chris Richards is one of US soccer's top prospects.

Coming from the soccer backwater of Birmingham, Alabama, Richards' progress is as much about perseverance as it is about talent.

He was a highly-regarded young defender for German giants Bayern Munich, and spent two loan spells at TSG Hoffenheim before joining Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

Rated as a potential successor to Jerome Boateng, the centre-back Richards signed a €1.2million four and a half-year contract with Bayern Munich in January 2019.

He joined the Bavarian team on loan from FC Dallas originally, before a permanent deal was agreed as part of the player development partnership between the American and German clubs.

However, his career stalled at the German giants and he found himself loaned out and then sold to Crystal Palace in July 2022 for £10million.

Richards has represented the USA at U-20, U-23 and at senior level, making his debut for the US Mens' National Team on November 16 2020 as a substitute in a 6-2 win over Panama.

Youth career

Richards started kicking a soccer ball aged 4 and was taken to play at the Hoover Soccer club in Alabama. He played through the Hoover youth ranks from the U-8 to the U-15 team.

His family took the leap of faith by sending him out of Alabama, to the Texans Soccer club in Houston, Texas.

Under coach Eric Quill. Richards refined his technique and was part of the Texans SC team that won the U-18 National Championship in 2017.

Joining FC Dallas

FC Dallas, the MLS team that Richards had unsuccessfully tried-out for previously, returned for the defender in 2017.

This time he passed the trial and joined the FC Dallas development academy before signing a homegrown contract. Richards was also offered a full-scholarship from the University Of North Carolina, which he turned down to join Dallas.

The FC Dallas move proved a good one in unexpected ways as German powerhouses Bayern Munich agreed a development partnership with the Texas club. This put Richards' raw talent under the nose of Bayern coaches when Dallas went to Munich for a 10 day training camp.

Bayern Munich switch

Richards impressed enough to be offered a one-year loan deal to Bayern Munich's U-19's in July 2018. He joined Canadian export Alphonso Davies at the Allianz Arena club.

Less than two weeks later, Richards was promoted to the Bayern team that took on Paris Saint-Germain in the International Champions Cup. He played the final half-hour as Bayern beat the French capital team 3-1 in Austria.

Richards' route to the Bayern first team was always going to be a gradual one and he built a solid platform for growth with 21 matches for the U-19's in 2018/19.

In January, 2019, Richards was rewarded with a lucrative first professional contract at Bayern Munich until 2023.

By August 2019, Richard was ready for the step up to Bayern Munich II in the German 3 Liga, making his debut in a 2-1 away win against Hallescher FC.

He made 30 appearances for the Bayern second string in 2019/20, scoring four goals as they won the 3 Liga with 65 points.

On June 20, 2020, Richards made his Bundesliga debut for Bayern, coming on as a substitute for Javi Martinez in the 84th minute against Freiburg.

He had become the fourth American to play for Bayern Munich after Wolfgang Suhnholz, Landon Donovan and Julian Green.

Richards made his first Bundesliga start for Bayern Munich on October 4, 2020, playing at right back in the 4-3 win over Hertha Berlin. He set up Robert Lewandowski's second goal in the 50th minute with an accurate low cross from the right.

Chris Richards playing for Bayern Munich in Champions League

Bayern head coach Hansi Flick started Richards at left-back versus Red Bull Salzburg in November 2020, handing the defender his Champions League debut in a 3-1 win. He was one of a record eight Americans to feature in the Champions League that season.

Richards had already picked up a UEFA Super Cup medal, being part of the Bayern squad that beat Sevilla 2-1 in the 2020 final. He then won the DFB Supercup with Bayern, playing 14 minutes of the 3-2 win over rivals Borussia Dortmund.

His impact at Bayern during the 20/21 season have been a mixture of Bundesliga and 3 Liga appearances, so at the start of February he was loaned to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim until the end of the season.

Richards had two spells at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim across the 2020/2021 and 2021/22 season, playing 34 times and scoring one goal.

Crystal Palace had a £10million transfer bid accepted by Bayern Munich and he signed a five-year deal with the south London club in July 2022. He made his Premier League debut against Liverpool in August, coming on as a second-half substitute.

USA selection

After joining Bayern Munich, it was only a matter of time before Richards made an impact on the national setup and that came at the 2018 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Florida.

Richards was brought in as one of three permitted replacements following the group stage and the young centre-back was to make an impact as the US clinched the gold.

He helped the young stars and stripes side to a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Honduras to make the final versus arch-rivals Mexico.

Richards played at centre back as the U-20's beat Mexico to record a 2-0 win.

From there, Richards was included in Tab Ramos' 21 man squad for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland. Richards and the US U-20's stunned the highly rated French team with a stunning 3-2 comeback win in the Round of 16.

USA's Chris Richards at U-20 World Cup

The US side departed the U-20 World Cup in the quarter-finals, with a narrow 2-1 defeat by Ecuador. Richards started all five matches in the tournament and drew plaudits for his performances.

Richards' full USA debut wasn't long in coming as he was named in a youthful squad for the USMNT 2020 friendlies with Wales and Panama.

He featured for the last 10 minutes versus Panama in a 6-2 friendly win.

His international career has stalled somewhat due to injuries and lack of playing opportunities. He wasn't selected in the USA team for the 2021 Gold Cup as the majorty of European-based players were rested for the tournament.

Richards did play a role in USA's World Cup 2022 qualification, though his appearances were curtailed by injuries.

Personal life

Richards comes from a sporting family and his mother Carrie played youth soccer in Alabama. His father Ken played pro-basketball in various countries, from Iceland to Australia.

He has a sister who plays volleyball and a brother who played soccer and basketball.

Away from soccer, Richards enjoys listening to music, watching Netflix and sleeping.

His favourite video game is Call Of Duty and his favourite TV shows are Last Chance U and How To Get Away With Murder.

He has a Martin Luther King tattoo and has posted support for Black Lives Matter on social media.

Richards is represented by Roc Nation Sports, the management company set up by Jay-Z which also handles Marcus Rashford and Kevin De Bruyne.

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