Many young American players have been on the move from the United States to Europe in hopes of developing their games at some of the biggest clubs in the world. Chris Gloster has recently done the opposite in hopes of getting back to playing regularly and fine-tuning his craft as a defender.
NYCFC announced the signing on Gloster on Monday after acquiring his MLS Homegrown rights from rivals New York Red Bulls in a trade. Gloster returns to MLS after a frustrating ending to his short time at Dutch giants PSV, where he watched and waited for the last few months.
After seeing a reported move to Newcastle United fall through in January, Gloster is eager to be part of the environment at NYCFC.
“We [Gloster and teammates James Sands] talked mainly about the team culture and how the players are with each other and how they are,” Gloster said in a conference call Tuesday. “He [Sands] was very confident in telling me that the team is very close, and everyone gets along really well. That really drew me to coming back home, and to NYCFC, because of how positively he talked to me about the team really being a team.”
Gloster moved to PSV from German club Hannover in 2019 with high aspirations of joining several other Americans in the Eredivisie (Sergino Dest, Richie Ledezma, Alex Mendez). After finding his groove early with Jong PSV, Gloster fell out of favor and saw his playing time drop significantly in 2020-21.
A former regular with the U.S. Under-17 and Under-20 Men’s National Teams, Gloster has remained a top prospect for the USMNT despite seeing a change in his domestic career. Now as he heads into an NYCFC side which has loved to see its fullbacks help in attack, Gloster is ready to translate his developments from the Netherlands to the Bronx this season.
“I think when I was playing for the youth national teams, my attacking wasn’t as good as it is now,” Gloster said. “I think going to Europe, the way they like to play is with higher outside backs. I think it taught me to be better in the final third and the attacking half so I think that’s what I can bring out to help this team.”
With starting left back Ronald Matarrita being traded to FC Cincinnati this offseason, Gloster will be in the mix for minutes in a full regular season schedule. 28-year-old Gudmundur Thorarinsson played in 17 league matches in 2020 while fellow offseason arrival Malte Amundsen is new to the league from Danish side Vejle.
Gloster’s goals of earning minutes is among the top of his list, but also is helping NYCFC fight for its first league title and more.
“NYCFC for me is a club I want to win trophies with,” Gloster said confidently. “But also, it’s a place for me to develop more as a player. Like you said, PSV didn’t work out, so it’s just [important] for me to gain more experience and first-team football.”
“Whatever I can do to make this club better I will try to do, so I’m ready for that.”