USMNT U-20 defender Justin Che has been officially promoted to Hoffenheim’s first team, approximately one year after joining the German club on-loan from FC Dallas.
Hoffenheim announced on Wednesday that the native Texan has moved into their professional squad following a successful winter training camp, along with German youth international Umut Tohumcu.
“Umut and Justin drew attention to themselves in the U23s and not least in winter preparation and in the training camp with us with consistently good performances and absolutely deserved this move,” said Hoffenheim head coach André Breitenreiter in the announcement.
Che is in the final half-year of his 18-month loan to the club, so his promotion to the first team is a positive sign that Hoffenheim might consider the purchase option in the summer.
He has spent most of his time with the second team, which plays in Germany’s fourth-tier Regionalliga Southwest, although he did made a pair of appearances with the first team towards the end of the 2021-22 season.
The head of Hoffenheim’s youth academy was also proud to see two of his charges get their chance with the first-team, stating “For us it is the greatest compliment and a confirmation of our daily work when young players from the academy take this step and set out to gain a foothold with the professionals.”
Che trained with the main squad during their extended break, and scored an impressive goal against fellow Bundesliga club Mainz in a recent friendly over the weekend.
Hoffenheim, who are in 11th after 15 of their 34 games played, resume their season on Saturday afternoon when they visit Jordan Pefok and fifth-place Union Berlin.