Jordan Pefok's Transfer To Union Berlin Can Revitalize His USMNT Hopes

The race for the No. 9 spot is as tight as ever.

American striker Jordan Pefok has confirmed a move to Bundesliga side Union Berlin, the club announced Thursday. Pefok will complete the move from Swiss side BSC Young Boys, where he won the 2021-22 Swiss Super League scoring title. 

Jordan Pefok Transfer Will Have USMNT Striker Implications

In Union Berlin, Jordan Pefok is joining a side that placed fifth in the Bundesliga last season and will compete in the Europa League. Pefok is in line to replace Taiwo Awoniyi as Berlin’s starting striker, a remarkable opportunity ahead of the World Cup this winter. In Switzerland, Pefok proved he had the goal-scoring pedigree to be a striker option for the USMNT. In the Champions League, he scored against both Manchester United and Atalanta, top European competition.

In his nine international appearances, Pefok has failed to cement his place in the World Cup squad. Pefok is one of seven strikers competing for what we can assume will be three striker spots in November

Pefok will accompany former next-big-thing Ricardo Pepi as the two USMNT strikers in the Bundesliga. After breaking through with the USMNT last October, Pepi completed his Augsburg move in January but failed to score in 11 appearances. Pepi is still one for the future, but between the youngster and Pefok, whoever performs better in the early stages of the Bundesliga will more than likely seal his place in the USMNT squad. This is a reality that had to be on Pefok’s mind when he agreed to the Union Berlin switch. 

Should he perform well in the Bundesliga, Pefok will have his eyes on the starting striker spot. His current competition is Jesús Ferreira, who has been praised by Gregg Berhalter for his pressing ability, bagged four against Grenada in June and scored this absolute banger on Wednesday. 

Also competing for a striker spot is recent debutant Haji Wright. Wright inserted himself into the striker conversation when he earned a USMNT call-up this June, but received some harsh criticism from Gregg Berhalter that he will need to respond well to.  

Daryl Dike and Josh Sargent will also feel they have an outside shot at a roster spot and should be ready to seize their chance should one of the previously mentioned players falter. 

Who Is Jordan Pefok?

Previously known by the last name Siebatcheu, Jordan Pefok was born in Washington, D.C., to Cameroonian parents. He moved to France at a young age and represented France at the youth level as he came up through the Stade de Reims academy. He was also eligible to represent Cameroon internationally.

Pefok scored 20 goals for Reims before moving on to Rennes and eventually BSC Young Boys. In March 2021, he officially announced his intention to represent the United States at the senior international level. 

Pefok went by Theoson Siebatcheu while playing in Europe, but has stated his desire to be known by his mother’s maiden name of Pefok since playing for the United States, as she is the reason he is eligible to play for the country. 

Whichever last name he goes by, the striker will hope for an opportunity with the USMNT when it takes on Japan and Saudi Arabia in the final World Cup tune-ups. Those games take place on Sept. 23 and 27, respectively.