DAVID SMITH - Thursday, June 30, 2016
Former Borussia Mönchengladbach reserve team striker Mario Rodríguez is on the move, having been signed by Dynamo Dresden and immediately loaned to Chemnitzer FC for the upcoming season.
The 22 year-old California native heads to the German state of Saxony after having a strong season with 'Gladbach's reserve squad in the fourth-tier Regionalliga West, where he netted seven goals while assisting on another seven in 28 league games.
With the team missing out on promotion last season and his chances for any playing time with the first team unlikely, he has headed to the country's easternmost region, which is experiencing a steady resurgence in fortunes.
Dresden, who were just promoted to the 2nd Bundesliga, gave details about the transfer and the subsequent loan to their nearby neighbors in Chemnitz.
"The 22 year-old striker is a free transfer and receives a contract through June 30, 2018, which is valid for the Bundesliga, the 2nd Bundesliga and 3rd Liga," the team announced. "The US youth national team player will be loaned out to 3rd Liga club Chemnitzer FC until June 30, 2017."
While they will not have his services this season, the Dresden team management expressed optimism that he would develop into a valuable contributor in the long-term.
"Mario has very good offensive assets at his disposal, and we have had him on our list for awhile," team sporting director Ralf Minge stated through the team's website. "The aim is that he will use this year at Chemnitz to focus his skills in the 3rd Liga. If he succeeds, then he can help us in the 2nd Bundesliga."
Rodríguez first made the jump abroad in 2012 when he moved from the LA Galaxy academy to Kaiserlsautern as an 18 year-old. He spent one year in their U19 squad before moving to Mönchengladbach, where he had exclusively featured for their second team ever since.
During the upcoming year at Chemnitz, he will face strong competition for playing time, with the two presumed veteran starters - Anton Fink and Daniel Frahn - having combined for 23 goals and 13 assists last season.
Chemnitz finished sixth in the division last season, and will certainly be targeting promotion in the upcoming campaign. The exact 3rd Liga schedule will be announced next week, with the first games set to be played on the weekend beginning on July 29.
The Himmelblauen already began their pre-season preparations on June 19, and have several exhibition games planned in the coming weeks. The final of these will happen on August 2, just days after their first league fixture, when they host the former employers of Rodríguez, Borussia Mönchengladbach.