U.S. youngster McKinze Gaines leaves Wolfsburg to join Darmstadt
Darmstadt completed the signing of United States youngster McKinze Gaines from Wolfsburg on Thursday.
The 19-year-old winger joins on a three-year contract at relegated Darmstadt, though Wolfsburg retain a buy-back option.
Texas-born McKinze Gainzes leaves Wolfsburg following a successful season in the club's under-19s, which saw his side reach the semifinal of the German championships.
However, the United States youth international felt it was time to move on after 22 league games, seven goals and nine assists, putting pen to paper at Darmstadt, who have already started their preseason after their relegation from the top flight last term.
"We are delighted to have convinced such a talented player to join us," said Darmstadt coach Torsten Frings, a former midfielder for Bayern and Germany. "[Gaines] has a lot of pace, and he left a great impression during the past under-19 Bundesliga season."
Gaines said he was "delighted to have signed for Darmstadt," adding: "I hope that I can improve every day and learn a lot from a great coach like Torsten Frings."
Gaines, who will wear the No. 27 jersey at Darmstadt, has made seven appearances for the United States' under-17 team. The Austin-born player spent three semesters at the U.S. Soccer residency program in Bradenton, Florida, before his move to Wolfsburg in July 2016.
At Darmstadt, he will join fellow American Terrence Boyd, who moved to the club in January.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.