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Norwich City signs USMNT prospect Sebastian Soto

Sebastian Soto is officially on his way to England.

EFL Championship side Norwich City announced the signing of Soto as a free agent on Tuesday. Soto’s contract with the Canaries will run until June 2023

“It’s a proud feeling,” Soto said in a club interview. “It’s super exciting to join Norwich City. The facilities here are really impressive. From the minute I arrived here, it’s given me a lot of excitement.”

“Being a young player, it’s nice to hear that the head coach gives us a chance. It was a big factor in me moving here. I’m striker that loves scoring goals. I love being part of a good team that plays good football.”

Soto made the move to Germany from Real Salt Lake’s Academy in July 2018 and quickly moved up the ranks at Hannover. Beginning with Hannover’s Under-19 side, Soto exploded for 17 goals and six assists in 24 matches, earning him promotion to the Under-23 side in the same season.

However, Soto failed to find the back of the net in eight combined appearances between Hannover’s first and second teams, which included a trio of Bundesliga cameos in 2019.

A current U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team product, Soto scored four goals in five appearances in the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, helping the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team to a third-consecutive quarterfinals appearance.

He’s also scored once in two appearances for the Under-23 team and was expected to be included in Jason Kreis’ Olympic Qualifying roster prior to the postponement of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Soto may end up heading out on loan from Norwich City though due to not having a work permit. Daniel Farke’s side struggled in the English Premier League this season, finishing last in the 20-team league.


  1. There has been talk that following Brexit teams may be allowed a certain number of “free pass” players that they could sign without meeting work permit requirements. It could be that Norwich and Soto are betting that that goes through and he’ll be eligible after this season anyway.

    • then why not just sign there. how many players do we have signed in england who can’t even play there, or have to go on loan for years. this is so silly. if you sign directly you control your destination and they don’t move your loan some new place year 2. and if it takes 2-3 years to get permit level — if ever — you’re probably transfer-ready anyway. EU passports getting you into England easy ends this winter.

      • the player always has the last say on loans. they can’t just send you somewhere without your consent

      • miazga is illustrative — nominally Chelsea but in reality rotated out to Vitesse Nantes Reading. the asset holder does not have to sell him, and can loan him iteratively his whole deal. there is nothing to stop them sending him on loan a new team each year, which undercuts the value of his success or chemistry or comfort any given season. he could be happy at a loan team and the asset holder can say they won’t pay enough and move him to a team he fits less well in. a player could probably veto a loan but he could probably also find himself back with the parent club but training with the kids and playing reserves or nothing. personally, the smarter move, shown by players like haaland, is control your fate and make incremental moves to teams that intend to directly use your services. it is the slower and less lucrative path to England but you control your use as opposed to being the pawn of the parent club. and when you get to england you still get paid and you go when the parent club wants you as a senior player and not an asset and plaything.

        and my last thought remains — your endgame is norwich, that just got relegated??

      • and then like i said below, he never gets to play in England unless he makes the permit rules. with how our schedule looks through 2022 when is he going to get senior caps to get a permit. and last i checked you need not just caps but 75% of the NT games. so he’s owned by a relegated team but has little chance of even chasing the cap % before 2022-23 season. so like maybe year 4 of a deal with a second division team he might play there if everything went perfect. and this is someone who needs to find his feet before he can catch on anyplace, senior NT, club, anyplace.

      • i’m just telling you players have the last say on loans. your parent club can’t send you to specific other clubs without your consent. these are facts.

      • Jeff Carlisle of reported today that work permits are expected to be easier to receive after England leaves the EU in January. He didn’t explain why.

  2. this is a bad idea. unlike steffen, he is not a senior team player who can make the permit based on world class criteria ie the whole 75% cap thing. he is a promising u20 grad who seems in demand, but he doesn’t have a UK or EU passport. could probably get a spanish one but in 2 years if he played there. by that time UK may not be taking EU passports, that is only guaranteed for players signing next 2 windows. in theory he could earn a world class permit but in reality that hits a catch 22 with GB. GB isn’t giving you caps unless you play club minutes, wise or unwise. you won’t be getting those club minutes in England without a permit. he could get loaned out — but then why not sign at the loan destination directly, instead of for a second division team for loan — and the reality is if you have seen the packed US schedule, when is he getting called there. olympics even overlaps gold cup next year. he and others have been talked about like they are the U23 team. in which case when is he even with the senior team. put that together with the potential impact of covid and it’s like when is he even earning a permit back in, and to norwich of all places…..

    • if you are a fan of some of the younger prospects, the US schedule on paper (assuming no covid, which may be naive) is March x2 quali June x4 quali July/August Olympics & Gold Cup Sept-Nov x2 quali January x2 quali March x2 quali. When can you even experiment in here? Maybe send kids to NL. Or maybe to GC in lieu of players left in Europe. But then you can’t double book the Olympic team players at the same time. You could in theory bring U20s in but they have a spring world cup. So who goes where and does the PP of Olympics a year cost U23s their senior chance, or do we go young for Olympics so we can trial U23s as seniors at GC? Assuming we make the Olympics. Assuming covid doesn’t wreck it all.

    • domino fall is as follows: if you let Pulisic skip GC 2021 to get ready for club ball, then the natural next step is the U23 types but then they have the Olympics. so do they go to GC or the olympics. if they go to GC who goes to the Olympics. if they go to Olympics who goes to GC and when do they ever get tires kicked as senior players this cycle.

      • For once I mostly agree IV, scheduling is really packed. For me the GC is the least important. You also can’t reasonably ask an MLS team to give up a player for most of June and July.

      • if he had a EU passport he would still have an “in” to england for 2 more windows — i think that passport still works to play there until year end — and i doubt he’d be set to be loaned out. or at least they wouldn’t be saying that sight unseen. and the problem is if you aren’t registered by this coming winter i think the permit rules are going to change — Brexit. old players are grandfathered but if you aren’t registered you’re under the new rules. what the new rules look like is unclear.

      • maybe they could get cute and see if they can get him permitted into scotland or something, and then maybe that gets him in England legally for a future season, since it’s all UK (for now). someone was telling me at some point they aren’t as strict for permitting if you play in scotland eg Polster. and scotland is roughly MLS quality or worse.

    • IV – For your 1st post- He’s been living & working in Germany for 2 years and doesn’t have an EU or German passport? Does that seem right?
      For your 2nd & 3rd posts- 2021 is def going to be complicated! That’s why GB & Kreis get the big bucks! WCQ, Nations League, Olympics, U20s, alotta decisions the coaches have to make. I think, if most commenters put together 1st, 2nd, & 3rd team (69 players) together, the player pool is deeper than original thought. Think 2018. I also believe the more tournaments, the better, because it forces the US to actually use the player pool. There will be players selected, who may not be getting 1st team minutes, or playing in top 5, 1st division leagues, that will get a chance to play for the Star’s & Stripes. I don’t expect anyone else to feel the same way, ( including a working vaccine, of course), but I’m interested in watching USMNT next year.

      • you don’t need an EU passport to play in Germany if you’re 18 or older.
        UK’s work permit standards are way stricter

      • I think the only way to get a German passport is to have a German parent or marry a German citizen….I could be wrong but it is not easy to get German citizenship…..

  3. At first glance, this is a strange deal. It’s seems like a lateral move at best. But things weren’t working for him at Hannover and he needs to get on the field. Doesn’t matter so much whether that’s in the Championship or in Holland, where he’s rumored to be going on loan. I don’t follow Norwich much, but did catch a quick interview with Farke at the end of the year, he seems like a good guy and he’s a former youth coach at Dortmund. So if Farke stays at Norwich and Soto can get a work permit and play there, it could be a good situation.

    • Farke did indeed seem like a decent coach at the beginning of the season. He’s English-speaking, and he’s a longtime friend of Klopp’s.
      But Norwich really fell apart after opposing teams figured out, among other things, that Pukki was almost their only threat. Farke has taken a lot of flak for seeming almost indifferent to being relegated, with by far the worst record in the EPL for weeks now, with poor performances through the whole restart. So I’m not sure Farke will even still be there a month from now, unless he can recruit players who can actually play in the UK.
      It’s understandable that Soto wanted to move on from Hannover, but if this move does nothing for an EU or UK work permit, it’s hard to see how it’s any improvement in the short term. How long, and how frequently, would he have to play for a Dutch club in order to earn some type of residency?
      Although, if by any chance he were heading ultimately for Vincent Kompany’s team …

      • Work permits only are a problem in England. They have special rules to ensure English footballers still have plenty of opportunities to grow and develop in the EPL. There is talk that rules will be relaxed somewhat after Brexit because EU players will now have to receive work permits too. Most leagues have requirements about number of foreign players on the roster but to my knowledge the English FA is the only one with the strict qualification system. Scotland uses the same rules but their appeals panel is generally not as rigid. Of course Andrew Gutman hasn’t gotten his approval to join Celtic so it does happen there too.

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