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Steffen: ‘I wanted to learn from the best of the best’


Zack Steffen comes into the English Premier League season as the No. 2 goalkeeper for Manchester City and very well could make his club debut next week.

Steffen, who is expected to stay with the Citizens this season, is likely to get the nod in goal when Pep Guardiola’s side kicks off play in the Carabao Cup. Ederson remains Guardiola’s No. 1 keeper and likely to feature in every Premier League game this season, but Steffen’s role could be important in cup competitions for the defending League Cup champions.

The 25-year-old spent last season on loan with then-Bundesliga side Fortuna Dusseldorf and was the starter for half of the league season. Steffen made 18 league appearances, but a knee injury caused him to miss the second half of the season and unfortunately not help Dusseldorf avoid relegation to the second tier.

With Claudio Bravo leaving the club this summer, Steffen jumped into the backup role in Manchester and is ultimately excited to make an impact with one of the top teams in Europe.

“It was pretty obvious,” Steffen said in an interview with the Manchester Evening News. “Getting games every week for a young goalkeeper is very important. But I signed with City, I wanted to come to City and learn from the best of the best – learn from Pep, learn from [goalkeeper coach] Xabi [Mancisidor] and [goalkeeper coach] Rich [Wright], and learn from Eddie.”

“And then there are all the top players here at this club. I wanted to come to the club – I want to get better, become better. And I believe that in doing that, you got to play with the best.”

Steffen impressed during his time in MLS with the Columbus Crew and has also grabbed the No. 1 job with the USMNT under former club head coach Gregg Berhalter. After 76 league appearances with the Crew, Steffen make the move to Manchester City in 2019, but has yet to make his debut for the 2019 EPL champions.

He’s earned 17 caps for the USMNT to date, edging several goalkeepers to the staring role for his country. Not only has the move to Manchester City helped draw even more notice to Steffen, but it will provide a great opportunity to work with some of the top players and one of the best managers in the world.

“My mindset is just to come in and work really hard, learn every day, get better every day,” Steffen said. “Enjoy the ride. Because it’s short, goes by fast and everything else will fall into line how it’s meant to, how it’s supposed to. But yeah, my mentality is to come and work hard.”

“Leave everything that I have out on the field every day in training, support the guys and just learn from the best.”

Manchester City kicks off its Premier League season at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sept. 21st before facing either Bournemouth or Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup third round on Sept. 24th.

With games coming thick and fast due to the delay in the start of the season, Steffen could see several opportunities to impress Guardiola and his new teammates in the first few months with Man City.



  1. US keepers are not great at playing the ball with their feet. Pep is known as the king of that style. He’s not going to England to learn from their youth coaches. England hasn’t had a run of great keepers hence why Man City and many EPL teams aren’t using a English keepers. Think of it like he got his masters degree from Berhalter know he’s going to get his doctorate from Pep.

  2. “I am not entirely sold that the UK has a ton to teach us about playing goal”. Ok. I’ll politely ignore the careers of Tim Howard, Brad Friedel, and Kasey Keller then. You can keep Tony Meola.

    • meola and keller went from college to USMNT starter and backup in 90, and when they started they were in the US team residency when all we had was the A League. howard and friedel started out in MLS and were already excellent. england cherry picks or do you not understand how their work permit rules work???? you have to already be basically the #1 keeper here to get a permit. you are not the #1 keeper here because you are some babe in the woods requiring a bunch of coaching.

      i mean, seriously, start listing the great english keepers of the past 20 or so years. they import everyone. they import the guy who starts at City ahead of Steffen. alisson and ederson are brazilian. lloris is french. leno is german. de gea and guaita are spanish. schmeichel is danish. coming in at 8th in an online EPL keeper rank is the first englishman — henderson — who is capped to U21 only and who plays for plucky sheffield united and not one of the elite teams with so much to teach us about english keeping.

      are you kidding. the one thing we can teach england about is keeping or do you forget robert green in 2010. if you said any other position i might buy it, and to be honest our advantage has dropped in the sweeper keeper era, not sure if it’s quality, lack of multisport athletes, or spending more time teaching them to play with their feet. but the one thing we used to do (1995-2016) is churn out world class keeping.

      • See my comment above and this additional information:
        GK coach at Man City is Xabier, he’s Spanish. After a short pro career, he’s been a GK coach since 1998. He’s had stops at Real Sociodad, Real Madrid, Malaga, and the last seven at Man City.

  3. Meh. Canned interview. Blah blah blah. Still, there does remain a concern about having our “def number one” keeper potentially playing so few minutes. I can find little merit in the notion that “a backup keeper for an elite EPL club is pretty much better than a day-to-day player anywhere else”. I have seen guys like Willy Caballero crap the sheets enough to know that this isn’t true. Consistent first team minutes build form for any player, particularly goalkeepers.
    Let’s be clear. Ederson is not some old man who is going to retire shortly — he’s 27 (barely older than Steffen). Steffen is not being “phased in”. If Steffen can’t push Ederson for minutes, then he’ll be back on loan again, perhaps within 6 months, which really wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world at that point
    Good news is Ederson is hardly flawless. Then again, I can’t yet say the same for Steffen. Rooting for him, but he needs to play!

    • I read the whole original article, it talks about how they brought Steffen in to push Ederson because Bravo with his age wasn’t really a threat. Bravo played 17 matches last year and would have played more if not for a red card in the CL group stage. Kaylor Navas developed just fine for CR sitting on Real Madrid’s bench for a couple years so it can happen.

      • that explains his utility to city — which is not as a starter but rather as a scare tactic to the #1. that doesn’t explain the value to steffen, which is basically wait around for an injury. i also get amused that horvath’s situation is viewed as disqualifying while steffen’s is depicted as containing a silver lining. at least some of what this speaks to is we should have our own evaluation of our players and not need city’s stamp of approval. this to me is the veteran flip side of waiting on dortmund to label Reyna “first team.”

        i am concerned that keepers in particular might show up nervous wrecks when they don’t get regular minutes. i actually didn’t think steffen looked his high quality self all of 2019 anyway. all the more reason to focus on how they look in US games, and realize that we don’t need to care about club politics in and of themselves, but rather any rust that manifests when they get capped. one is snobby nonsense. the other is does their club situation actually hurt their NT play. the place to sort that out is in our colors.

  4. ok, year 1 there he wasn’t even in the country, so the deal cannot possibly be entirely about getting schooled by Man City. second, he wasn’t saying this before year 1, so to me it sounds more like a revision of goals to reflect reality. he is practice fodder and will play cup games. at which point, yeah, the nice gloss is “here to learn.” i will say that keeper might be unusual in being a position where one might get unusual practice attention beyond first string. the keepers will train off by themselves, and two or more keepers might be on field for scrimmages and drills. however, conversely, keeper is a HARD position for a second string to find PLAYING TIME. as Hovarth has been learning. and that may affect his sharpness when he shows up, “learning” aside. i say “learning” because, hmmm, the one thing i think americans do as well as they do, and can probably teach, is keeping. i am not entirely sold that the UK has a ton to teach us about playing goal. they didn’t make their starting keeper, they bought him. if he was a field player, maybe, but this, i think it’s spin. he’s in the second year of a deal, finally in manchester, but now the clipboard carrier. saying you’re learning might be more diplomatic than “play me.”

    • One ever interview given by anyone is mostly spin. Two he knew the first wasn’t going to be at Manchester, everyone knew he wasn’t the work permit rules were pretty cut and dried. Finally, Pep is pretty universally considered to be one of the best managers of this era, you’re trying to play it off like he’s under Joe Gaffer at Scunthorpe United. Bravo played 17 matches last year so there will be chances to play that included 4 of the CL group stage.

      • pep is not a keeper coach. are you seriously suggesting pep will teach him all that was missing about goal? no, pep may be a good coach and have an eye for talent, but he’s looking for a finished product to execute his wishes. as with most americans in EPL, he’s there for what he has and not what he might learn. most learning is an academy thing. the idea they are teaching yedlin to play defense or steffen how to catch a ball is silly. if they thought you needed a lot of teaching that would only happen at 18 when you get sent to the academy team. by 20 they are looking to execute. if you don’t get it they go buy someone else.

      • He’s not there to learn basic skills, he’s there for his advanced class at playing out of the back something that Pep and Xabier are more time than qualified to do. Last year he was at Düsseldorf who kind of tried to play out but the players players weren’t very good and so they just ended having Zac boom it down field. Yes he got more reps but they weren’t reps doing what the NT wants to do.

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