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USMNT prospect Justin Che joins Hoffenheim

Joe Prince-Wright, Andy Edwards and Nick Mendola look ahead to the United States' next World Cup qualifying window, with big clashes against Canada and El Salvador on tap at the end of January.

Yet another young American player is heading to Europe — and more specifically, Germany — as 18-year-old FC Dallas defender and USMNT prospect Justin Che is reportedly set to complete a transfer to Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.

[ TRANSFER CHAT: USMNT players potentially (or already) on the move in January ]

UPDATE: Hoffenheim confirmed their on-loan signing of Justin Che on Friday.

The transfer taking Justin Che from FC Dallas to Hoffenheim will initially be an 18-month loan through the summer of 2023 with an option — not an obligation — to make the move permanent.

Che spent the first half of the 2021 calendar year training with, and then loaned to, Bayern Munich. He made eight appearances for Bayern Munich II, but returned to Dallas in the summer. Bayern Munich were hopeful of agreeing a permanent transfer, but a deal was never struck and Che went on to make 15 appearances (12 starts) and tally three assists while playing as a right back during the second half of the MLS season.

[ MORE: USMNT strikers Ricardo Pepi, Daryl Dike set for European transfers ]

Bayern Munich remained in the mix to sign Che this winter, but it appears Hoffenheim were first to agree a deal with all parties. Che is expected to compete for first-team minutes upon arrival, which would see him play alongside another USMNT contender, Chris Richards, who is currently on loan from — you guessed it — Bayern Munich.

Richards has made 15 Bundesliga appearances (14 for Hoffenheim and one for Bayern). Richards’ loan does not include a permanent option, as Bayern Munich are said to rate the 21-year-old very highly after insisting he sign a new, long-term contract before embarking on his current loan.

Che is eligible to play for the German and Russian national teams via his mother, as well as the Cameroonian side via his father. He was called into camp for the USMNT’s friendly against Switzerland last May but was an unused substitute on matchday.

Follow @AndyEdMLS