BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, April 6, 2012
US U-20 forward Villyan Bijev made his professional debut this week with Fortuna Dusseldorf.
The Bulgarian-born Bijev, 19, signed with Liverpool last summer and was loaned to Fortuna Dusseldorf for the season. One of the key reasons why he was loaned out is that under EU rules, Bulgarian citizenship does not provide an automatic UK work permit yet.
Yesterday Bijev was subbed into a game against Hansa Rostock in the 82nd minute of a 2-1 loss. His appearance did mark the first time Bijev as appeared in a game of first-team soccer.
Bijev, who moved to California when he was a young child, has also seen increased minutes with US youth national teams in recent years. Last year he was part of the US U-18 team and this past year he has been called up to the US U-20 national team where he is expected to be a regular contributor as they build up to next year's World Cup qualifying tournament.