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Reports: Bristol City closing in on Zack Steffen transfer


Zack Steffen enjoyed a breakout year in 2017, and become a U.S. Men’s National Team player in 2018. For his next trick, Steffen could be ready to make a move back to Europe.

The Columbus Crew have received a $3.9 million transfer offer from English Championship side Bristol City, MLS Soccer reported on Wednesday. According to a report from, Steffen is leaning toward agreeing to a move, which would clear the way for the teams to finalize a deal.

Steffen, 23, joined the Crew from German club SC Freiburg in July 2016, eventually taking over the starting goalkeeper position. In 50 regular season appearances, Steffen has recorded 16 shutouts and helped the team to a berth in the 2017 Eastern Conference Championship.

The USMNT goalkeeper was MLS’ Player of the Month for May after not conceding a single goal in the Crew’s five matches. Steffen helped the Crew to a 3-0-2 record in that month, and has seven clean sheets in 16 league matches in 2018.

This year has also seen Steffen earn his first caps with the USMNT, making his debut in January against Bosnia-Herzegovina and starting against France in the USMNT’s 1-1 draw back on June 9th. With his lack of USMNT experience however, Steffen most likely would need to go through an appeals panel to receive authorization to play in England.

Bristol City kicks off its 2018-19 season on August 4th against Nottingham Forest. The Crew will be back in league action on Saturday against Orlando City.


  1. You gotta be kidding me. First of all, He belongs on a better team than that. So the starting US keeper at Bristol City in the Championship. No.

    maybe they have a great keeper coach…..

    Second, don’t leave MLS, I love watching you play.

  2. Couldn’t happen to a nicer kid. I was fortunate enough to coach him and he has come a long way. I think he will only keep getting better.

  3. I wouldn’t bet on him winning an appeal for a Work Permit. It’s becoming more and more difficult to win those as the strings have become tighter in England. It’s not just that way for athletes. It’s becoming harder for any non European to secure a work permit in the country. I am dealing with that now as I have an opportunity work in England and there’s quite a bit of red tape and hoops to jump through.

  4. New Precourt strategy make Columbus so bad that Ohio doesn’t want them, this is getting more like Major League by the minute.

    • LOL. Yeah. Does seem that way.

      Been fascinating watching him saw the knees off poor Berhalter all year. Dude keeps trying to win and sometimes even succeeding, but Precourt just ain’t having it.

  5. He should get a waiver. AFAIK when Man. U. signed Tim Howard, he was not yet a starter for the MNT. When Dempsey signed with Fulham, he hadn’t played in the 75% of MNT matches that year. Steffens is probably the first choice at present and in the near future, or at least until they hire a new manager, so he should be permitted to play for Bristol.

    • UK immigration officials have become stricter about granting waivers since Dempsey and Howard went to the EPL. Remember Juan Agudelo couldn’t get a work permit.

    • Could be a great opportunity for Steffen. Similar age profile to Guzan when he jumped from MLS if I am remembering right. It took Brad a year or 2 to earn the starting role at Villa and Steffen will likely have to do the same work to earn the #1 role. If he has interest in getting back to Europe this is a chance he should grab.
      To answer about if Championship is better than MLS I think thats a complicated question. Its been pointed out that the top of some MLS rosters are better than Championship teams and I think that is true. However, a few teams fighting for promotion have some very good players in their teams. As has also been pointed out the middle and back end of a Championship is likely far better than MLS. The bottom teams in MLS would not survive the Championship though. They are very weak top to bottom.

    • Yes. The technical quality is higher, but not by a drastic margin. Most importantly though is that he gets his foot in the door in England and gets 46 league games and opportunities in the FA cup and Carabao Cup to potentially face premier league sides.

    • No.

      Watch EPL sometime. There’s six power teams (the Manchesters, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Tottenham), and Everton is consistently pretty good. Those are the teams that are a cut above.

      After that you can pretty much take the next 40-50 teams in England into a hat, shake ’em up, and draw. Leceister City is pretty much the only exception I can remember…well, I do remember Newcastle had one good season 20 years or so too. Those guys all spend a boatload of money but anybody who claims they’re better than Atlanta United, NYCFC, Sporting KC, LAFC, etc…is just being a Eurosnob. The Championship probably has overall deeper rosters but they also don’t have the elite players like Almiron, Villa, Vela, etc…sorry, they just don’t. Elite players play in the Prem, period. Whereas MLS rosters are somewhat inconsistent players 1-24 but some of them are also very strong at the top and those pseudo-DP’s who are paid down by TAM are also usually younger guys who are also more talented than you see in the Championship.

      • Sorry no MLS team would stay up more than a year or two in the EPL.

        Your beloved ATLU has a guy who couldn’t get time in Serie A, two young SA who needed a stop in MLS because major clubs don’t think they are ready, Gressel who didn’t have good German prospects so came to the US collegiate system, Garza who couldn’t make it in LigaMx, Gonzalez Pirez was a part time player in Argentina, Larentowicz is a journeyman MLSer, Nagbe’s best offer was Celtic a couple years ago and Celtic isn’t what they used to be, McCann had dropped to League 1 with his last Euro team, Villaba never scored more than 6 goals in Argentina. I really enjoy watching Atlanta and watch at least part of their match every week, but they couldn’t stay up in the EPL for long.

    • id say that the starting xi Columbus to Bristol is pretty comparable. the difference is in Bristol he will have to compete for a starting role, likely play in 40+ meaningful games and if he does well either Bristol or Steffen will be playing against better and better competition very soon. also a plus knowing that Bristol is not going to cease operations next year..

      MLS has some talented players on each team but doesn’t offer the competition (shallow rosters, meaningless games until the playoff stretch) needed for our elite national team players. mid-tier efl championship isn’t ideal either but its a half step up out of the kiddie pool into the ocean.


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