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MacMath to train with Everton

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Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath put together a solid second season in Major League Soccer, his first as the team’s regular starter, and while his team’s season ended early, the young netminder’s education continues.

MacMath is in England, where he will begin a three-week training stint with English Premier League side Everton FC, sources told SBI. MacMath, who turned 21 in August, started 32 of 34 games for the Union in 2012, posting a 10-17-5 record and eight shutouts, with a 1.34 goals-against average.

A 2011 first-round draft pick, MacMath was thrust into the starting role before the 2012 season after the surprising departure of Colombian veteran Faryd Mondragon. After enduring some inconsistency and stretches of shaky form early in the season, MacMath eventually settled in and gave the Union a steady presence in goal through the second half of the season.

The youngest starting goalkeeper in MLS, MacMath will be training at Everton alongside U.S. national team starter Tim Howard, and under the tutelage of U.S. national team goalkeeper coach Chris Woods. The training stint is the second MacMath has had with Everton. He also trained with the Toffees in the summer of 2010.

(UPDATE– MacMath isn’t the only Union player going on a training stint. Homegrown player Cristhian Hernandez will be joining Spanish Premier League side Real Sociedad for a training stint as well.)


  1. Several young MLSers who didn’t make the playoffs should be looking abroad for training opportunities. Some of them have recently been capped by the USMNT, and others failed to qualify for London with the U-23 team. Others put together a great season and may be able to take their momentum towards a first USMNT cap. A few players had a injury-ridden 2012 and could use high level off-season training. The following list also includes Sporting and LA galaxy players since their teams lost in the first leg.

    USMNT on the bubble
    Graham Zusi
    Omar Gonzalez
    Brek Shea
    George John
    Juan Agudelo
    Sean Johnson
    Teal Bunbury
    Matt Besler
    CJ Sapong
    Zach Loyd

    Former U-23
    Freddy Adu
    Jack Macinerny
    Omar Salgado
    Sheanon Williams
    Amobi Okugo
    Jorge VillafaƱa
    Kelyn Rowe

    Matt Hedges
    Lee Nguyen
    Luis Silva
    Andrew Wenger
    Jose Villarreal

    Who is missing?

      • @Jubei: Maybe he meant “bubbly” as in champagne…as in celebrating some recently strong performances with the Nats, unlike the “bubble list”.

      • Not really in the camp that more is better.

        And I have never been a huge Euro worshipper, like they are the only ones that can coach soccer. Maybe in 1975.

        If guys have a chance to make some money, go for it. Otherwise I would take the time off and go for quality over quanity next year. Most guys are probably in the latter group.

      • Because I didn’t want to make a category for only Zusi. Besides he may in his off-season next week and has important games to play for the USMNT.

        Are you saying that he shouldn’t train abroad in the offseason to remain in form? That is the reason I put this list together.

  2. If there’s no Camp Cupcake, we might as well send all our MLS GKs with any shot at the NT to work with Woods and Timmy in January.

    So…MacMath, Johnson, Hamid, Rimando, Kennedy.

    Not exactly sure Everton would be up for that, tho.

  3. who arranges this off season training sessions? do the players have to pay for everything or does their club do it for them? Just curious

  4. ^THIS.

    What this kid needs more than anything is about two more seasons of training under a steady established #1. HE SHOULD NOT BE A STARTER.

    but hey, start him, bench Adu, have a midget back four, no worries….

      • Yes.

        Especially Hamid, He tied with Rimando for second among starting keepers for goals against average. He also led all starting keepers in save percentage. Johnson was 3rd in save percentage. MacMath? Not so much.

        *I’m not including Robles here, because he only had 5 starts, but his numbers would put him at the top of both categories)

      • Yes Hamid/Johnson both have great stats, though MacMath at 67% is simply league average and still better than Mondragon was. As well as better than almost-record-setting Hartmann, and Busch and Kennedy and Ricketts who are GKs who he would probably be sitting behind on your team.
        But I was getting at more, with all 3 being young GKs, are Hamid and Johnson without their gaffes? MacMath gets killed for his command issues but those other two U23 get passes for their gaffes?

      • Is this the same Hamid that made such a mess of that cross this weekend that he wound up putting the ball in his own goal? I fully admit I have not seen much of him, but that made me hope for Freidel-like longevity for Howard and Guzan.

      • @jb: I’m assuming you saw Howards OG this past weekend and you remember how Kasey Keller looped his goal kick off the back of Carlos Hermosillo’s head back in 97. These things happen occasionally even the best keepers.

        It certainly wasn’t Hamid’s shining moment, but he’s been keeping United in pressure matches for a while now.

      • Yeah, fair point. Honestly, I think I’m still a little tainted from that final olympic qualifying match too. Which isnt entirely fair, considering the injury, etc. Anyway its good that a DC fan speaks well of him. And like another poster said earlier, the mental parts of keeping seem to need quite a bit of seasoning for anyone. He certainly has the frame and athleticism.

      • in my opinion, NO, and if you watched the DC NY game you’ll understand my point. Neither did DeGea last year for MUFC.

        Keeper-ing is an old man’s game. Guzan’s doing it right.

      • If howard had gone to a smaller club rather that Man United right outta MLS that would have been a very different experience for him. It’s not in a every case, but too many US players (keepers and field players) have tried to rise too quickly, skipping steps seems to result in disaster. Slow and steady improvement.

      • shot stopping is one thing and lots of young keepers cause a splash that way, but that’s onmly the tip of the iceberg. Managing crosses, free kicks, organizing a back four, being a psychological leader, keeping a team steady by being steady… all takes time. McMath, Hamid and Johnson do not do any of those things.

      • He’s also just turned 21. He’s extremely young and he’ll continue to learn. There’s going to be rough spots (same for Johnson and Hamid) but the experience will make him better in the end.

    • Using your logic, then you should be happy that he’s getting addt’l training at Everton since that’s what you ultimately think will make him better, no?

  5. Pretty good. He had his ups and downs for sure, but training in a higher quality league is never a bad thing whatsoever. It should be a common thing until the MLS gets their stuff together.

      • Also Ben Olsen’s career-limiting destroyed ankle at Nottingham Forest (though to be fair that was a full loan, not brief “training.”)

      • ahem…both were on loan, not “training”. despite Gonzo getting injured in practice, there’s a distinct difference between the two.

      • 6′ – even, 176 lbs. Hamid is 6’3″, 225; Johnson is 6’3″, 217; Guzan is 6’4″; Howard is 6’3″; even the tall and skinny Tally Hall is 6’4″, 215.

        That being said, Rimando is 5’9″, 184.

        I think the key thing on stature is being tall and having sufficient ups to win crosses; and having enough upper body strength to compete in a 50/50 situation.

        I also think you have to factor in that he’s young, still younger than most college graduates, and may bulk up some yet. Some of the more solidly built kids already you have to worry about if they trend Zach Thornton.

    • It’s not his first time time training over at Everton. He spent a few weeks over there training with Tim Howard & Co. after his strong showing in the Milk Cup a few years ago when the USA U-18s or 19s won the competition.

  6. He’s big! He’s orange! Nothing rhymes with orange… ZAC MACMATH! ZAC MACMATH!

    Hahaha… went down 95 with other Red Bull supporters and we all came back with that song stuck in our head.


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