The group-state draw for Europe’s new third-tier competition took place on Friday afternoon in Istanbul, giving a handful of Yanks the opportunity to rack up more frequent flyer miles when they travel across the continent.
This new European competition will see 32 teams across eight groups vying to progress to the knock-out rounds, and earn their chance to lift the inaugural trophy in late-May’s final in Tirana, Albania.
Two American players – keeper Josh Cohen of Maccabi Haifa and Mikkel Diskerud of Omonia Nicosia – played a central role in their teams’ respective qualifying rounds, and are almost certain to feature heavily in the six group games.
Cohen landed in perhaps the toughest group of the competition, with matches against German Bundesliga team Union Berlin and Dutch Eredivisie powerhouse Feyenoord Rotterdam awaiting, alongside Czech heavyweights Slavia Prague.
With his Serie A campaign with AS Roma and new coach Jose Mourinho looking unlikely to yield large amounts starts or playing time, Bryan Reynolds could see the most significant action in this competition in the probable scenario that the Portuguese coach rotates his squad for these Thursday-night games. Roma will have trips to Ukraine, Bulgaria and Norway on the itinerary, as they drew Zorya Luhansk, CSKA Sofia and Bodø Glimt.
The first round of games is set to take place on Thursday, September 16, with the groups wrapping up on December 9.
Each of the eight groups and teams are as follows:
Group A: LASK Linz, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Alashkert, HJK Helsinki
Group B: Gent, Partizan Belgrade, Flora Tallinn, Anorthosis Famagusta
Group C: AS Roma (Bryan Reynolds), Zorya Luhansk, CSKA Sofia, Bodø/Glimt
Group D: AZ Alkmaar, CFR Cluj, Jablonec, Randers
Group E: Slavia Prague, Feyenoord Rotterdam, Union Berlin, Maccabi Haifa (Josh Cohen)
Group F: FC Copenhagen, PAOK Thessaloniki, Slovan Bratislava, Lincoln Red Imps
Group G: Tottenham Hotspur (Cameron Carter-Vickers), Stade Rennes, Vitesse Arnhem, NŠ Mura
Group H: FC Basel, Qarabağ, FC Kairat, Omonia Nicosia (Mikkel Diskerud)