Zach Steffen just finished a superb season as goalkeeper for the Columbus Crew. So superb in fact, that he’s been offered a contract to play for Manchester City next year. That’s not something you pass up. Going from playing in America to Europe is every American soccer player’s dream. And that is exactly what Steffen is doing.
But after the 2018 season the Columbus Crew is staying in Ohio. Zach Steffen is a big part of why that is. Just take a look at his highlight reel and you’ll see the kind of exciting player that he is. The man can fly across the goal, routinely making saves while his body is fully stretched out. He’s quick on his feet and is never down on the ground for more than a second.
For all his hard work this season, Zach has earned the U.S. Soccer’s Men’s National Team Player of the Year award. Not a bad sendoff as he gets ready to begin his European career.
Zach Steffen Reflects On His Season
It’s hard to choose a favorite or best save but upon reflection, Steffen thinks back to playing against France, in a game in Lyon. The French attacker hit a ball that bent down and Zach had to stretch out all the way to his right to knock it away. He was quickly on his feet again and diving left to get a hand on the rebound shot that he deflected across the goal line and out of play.
In a recent interview, Steffen recounts this and other great plays with his characteristic humility. No doubt another quality (along with his amazing athleticism and ball-reading skills) that intrigued Man City.
Gregg Berhalter was Zach’s coach on the Columbus Crew and now is the coach of the U.S. national team. According to Steffen, Coach Berhalter is a demanding coach with a great respect for American soccer. Steffen expects to be pushed even harder by his former coach when he takes to field wearing the national jersey. Berhalter wants to put U.S. soccer back on the map after this year’s disappointment at not qualifying for the World Cup.
But Steffen is confident that Berhalter can turn things around. Steffen notes that Team USA is young. There is a lot of unpolished talent on the team, guys with speed and explosiveness but not the skills or team cohesion needed to win major soccer matches. But they have some time to work on that before the next World Cup.
Meanwhile In Steffen’s Career
Steffen has nothing bus confidence coming out of 2018. He’s been named player of the year and was instrumental in keeping the Crew’s franchise alive in Columbus. Now Steffen is looking ahead to beginning a new chapter in Man City. He knows that the competition is a bit stiffer over there but he was selected for a reason. Just like he said when he played in his first game for Team USA, he’s not going to do anything except stick to what he knows a play good soccer.
Playing in Man City and coming up against some of the best players in the world is great experience for Steffen. He wants to be a leader for Team USA and there’s no better way to do that than throw his hat in the ring with the best players in the world.