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Steffen ready for Gold Cup challenge, future in Europe

The 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup is quickly approaching and the U.S. Men’s National Team fully intend to defend its 2017 title. Much has changed since then, but arguably most notable is the addition of Zack Steffen as starting goalkeeper, a player who did not make the United States Gold Cup team two years ago.

Steffen spoke to the media on Monday about his new role as starting ‘keeper’ for the USMNT as well as his move to Manchester City and his hopes for development in the coming years.

“It’s a big expectation,” Steffen said. “And a lot of pressure. But I like that. It’ll make me better and it’ll make the players around me better. And it’s an honor, obviously, to be put in talks with [Tim Howard, Brad Friedel, Tony Meola] and I still have a long way to go. I’m young and it’s really just starting.”

“Tim’s been a good advocate. We played Colorado a couple of weeks ago and we had a little chat after the game and he’s here for anything I need and that means a lot to me”

Steffen will be saying farewell to Howard and MLS however as he packs his bags to travel overseas and into the next chapter of his soccer career. Much to fans’ chagrin, Steffen will not be able to help the Columbus Crew reach the playoffs this season, nor will he be eligible to play against Atletico Madrid in this year’s MLS All-Star game.

The Gold Cup this summer marks a massive transition for Steffen, who recently completed his move to Premier League champions Manchester City this summer.

The 2018 MLS Best XI and Goalkeeper of the Year winner will have his work cut out for him, however, if he has any hopes of breaking into City’s first team in the coming seasons.

“I’m expecting to get better, to get pushed, and to enjoy Europe,” Steffen said. “But my mentality before I go over there is to work hard and learn from the best and just enjoy it. The career that we have here is so short when you look from the outside so I’m just there to enjoy, work hard, and do as best as I can.”

City currently have four goalkeepers on their roster, including current Brazilian No. 2 Ederson and former Barcelona starter Claudio Bravo. Steffen will most likely be sent out on loan to get important minutes elsewhere in Europe, but the opportunity to learn under such accomplished keepers would certainly be valuable as well.

“We’re still figuring all of that out but what’s important for young goalkeepers is games, and high level games, and that’s what I’m looking forward to,” Steffen said.

The 24-year-old Pennsylvania native will be one to watch as his career continues to soar to new heights. Playing as a reserve ‘keeper in the fourth division of German soccer just four years ago Steffen now has the chance to return to Europe, this time with his sights set much higher.



  1. I hope this doesn’t have the many others wasting away a career, written all over it.
    He is a true talent and developing VERY nicely in MLS. I get money is money, but ending up at Team X playing for nothing, trying to over take that 12th place spot, for a decade, ends up in players NOT developing nicely, while they just show up for the paycheck.

    • “but ending up at Team X playing for nothing, trying to over take that 12th place spot, for a decade, ends up in players NOT developing nicely”…

      I get the concern, but going from an MLS mid-table team to a Bundesliga mid-table team is a good move, at least for a season or two. If he’s not getting regular playing time, then yeah, it’s a problem. But let’s give this loan a chance. Rotting on City’s bench for the next 4 years would be a far worse move in terms of development…

  2. It’ll be interesting to see if MCFC makes any other goalkeeping moves this off-season. Bravo is as good as gone. Steffen’s probably every bit as good as Muric if not better and certainly ahead of Grimshaw.
    Loan still might be the best path since Ederson played every PL minute for them, but as of now, Steffen very could be their #2.

  3. Can anyone remind me why he choose to leave Bundesliga again those years ago when he was in Freiburg reserves. I felt like Steffen was good enough to grind and make it to the first team bench. Was it more playing time he wanted on a first division team? Was it money?

    • He was buried on the depth chart! …same thing for Caleb Stanko a few years later. If there is a significant injury, then you would tumble down the depth chart, and getting back on the field to make the 18 or starting XI, becomes that much more difficult, especially in the top leagues.


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