There are two Americans playing in the 3rd division of German soccer this year. Interestingly, they were teammates at the 2007 U-20 World Cup and both are new signings. One, of course, has come from a 4th division club (and joining a newly promoted club) while the other has had a personal relegation.
Preston Zimmerman has joined newly-promoted SV Darmstadt 98 after having spent the previous 1.5 seasons with FSV Mainz II. Zimmerman had seven goals for Mainz II last year (and seemingly some welcome stability after an ugly turn of events for him in Austria). The Mainz second side finished 13th in the Regionalliga West; Zimmerman was second on the team in goals. He was rewarded for his efforts with a contract with the deal to join Darmstadt. The Lillies won Regionalliga Süd to reach the 3rd division, although they will need to improve their attack if they wish to stay up (their 50 goals last season ranked just 7th of 16 Regionalliga Süd clubs). Zimmerman started their opener today, a 1-0 loss to VfL Osnabrück, a club that spent the 2010-11 season in the 2nd Bundesliga after being crowned 3rd Liga champions in 2009-10 (so, on the surface, a respectable result).
Zimmerman will be joined in the 3rd Liga by central Amaechi Igwe, who has joined SV Babelsberg 03 after having spent the previous season failing to make any league appearances for Edson Buddle’s FC Ingolstadt 04. Babelsberg was decidedly mid-table in 2010-11, which most would rate as a successful season after having earned promotion as Regionalliga Nord champions in 2009-10. Igwe is apparently having some work permit issues at the moment which prevented him from being eligible for their 1-1 draw with Jahn Regensburg today.