After a couple of days that news broke of Ricardo Pepi’s transfer to European soccer, and specifically to Bundesliga, Augsburg FC presented the American forward as their newest player on a record transfer for the German club.
Today, both clubs made official the deal that send Ricardo Pepi from FC Dallas overseas to Augsburg FC, on a permanent move that, according to reporter Fabrizio Romano, was for a total package of $20 million.
Pepi signed a 5-year contract that will tie him with the german club until 2026, although his contract has an option for an additional team in case Augsburg wants to take it, the club informed via their social media as they presented Ricardo wearing his new colors.
The Red, Green and White gave Pepi a warm welcome, as well as a tour around the stadium and the city. On a video posted on both Augsburg and Bundesliga’s social media, where the 18-year-old says that he’ll be able to “hopefully help the team and do the best for the club”.
When asked about what means for him this next step in his career, Pepi answered “obviously, leaving my family behind makes me humble, makes me hungry to get this next opportunity and make the most out of it”.
The American Wonder Kid, as Augsburg presented Pepi, will wear number 18 and is already training with his new teammates in hopes of debuting on the next game Augsburg plays.
Economic and cultural impact of Pepi’s deal
The transfer of the American forward will also benefit Augsburg from an economical and cultural perspective, as one of the appealing things this deal has for the German side is looking to start growing a fan base in the US and establish themselves in the American market.
The “Pepi Hype Train” has manifested specially in social media, as fans have been asking how to but Augsburg FC’s jerseys in the States, something that the team itself cared to answer, as they took action and partnered with an American clothing brand to sell the team’s apparel.
FC Dallas says goodbye to Ricardo Pepi
With a couple of videos, FC Dallas wished the best of lucks in his new team to his former player. “We knew he was special since the day he joined our Academy. Every step of the way he rose above expectations. Now we wish you the best of luck in your next step, America’s Striker”.
After joining FC Dallas Academy in 2016, he signed with North Texas FC, Dallas affiliate team in the MLS Next Pro league, as the first player ever to be part of the club. He also scored the first goal in an official match for the Texan team.
On 2019 he signed with FC Dallas his homegrown contract and was part of the squad ever since. Ricardo Pepi saw his career rise in 2021 after completing the homegrown player process for FC Dallas. He began the 2021 MLS Season as a backup, but he quickly earned his spot on the starting eleven, as he played 31 games during the regular season and scored 12 goals.
Pepi also had the chance to say goodbye to all FC Dallas fans in a very emotive video: “FC Dallas fans, I will represent you everywhere I go. I will wear your name on my chest and on my sleeve and I will represent FC Dallas on and off the field.”
He added: “Hopefully this will not be the last time you got to see me stepping a foot in that field and in the future you guys can see me walking out of that tunnel again. I’m getting very emotional to saying goodbye to this family because it’s never a goodbye, is a see you later.”