Why should Bristol City bring US goalkeeper Zack Steffen
Lee Johnson has been busy in the transfer market since the opening of the window. The Bristol City boss has brought in five new signings – Marley Watkins from Norwich, Adam Webster from Ipswich, Jack Hunt from Sheffield Wednesday, Andreas Weimann from Derby County and Scunthorpe’s Hakeeb Adelakun. Still high on the list of priorities is buying a new goalkeeper.
After Luke Steele was released, the Robins have Frank Fielding in the squad, as well as youngster Max O’Leary. Finnish stopper Niki Maenpaa, formerly at Brighton, has been training with the team but no deal has been completed yet. Reports have also linked City with a move for USA national team goalie Zack Steffen.
After playing youth football in Philadelphia Union’s youth academy, Steffen was named US Soccer Development Academy Eastern Conference Player of the Year in 2011/12.
After graduating high school, he went on to play college football for two years, representing the University of Maryland. Over the course of those two campaigns, he kept 17 clean sheets.
Interestingly enough, Steffen decided to move to Germany after his second season, signing a contract with Freiburg in the winter of 2014. He went on to play 14 games for the Reserves, conceding 21 goals and keeping 3 clean sheets.
When it was expected that he’d be promoted to the first-team, the goalkeeper made a move back to America, joining Columbus Crew.
Right after the deal was completed, Steffen moved on loan to US Soccer League side Pittsburgh Riverhounds. He recorded two clean sheets in 9 matches for them, conceding 12 goals in the process.
Subsequently, Steffen became Columbus Crew’s starting goalkeeper for the 2017 campaign, helping them through to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to Toronto.
He’s been an ever-present in the Crew goal this season as well, having already kept 7 clean sheets in 17 appearances. Steffen has played for the US U18, U20 and U23 sides, and has 3 caps for the senior team.
As far as a potential transfer to Bristol City is concerned, it will be a good deal for both the club and the player. Steffen will get the chance to polish his skills in one of the most demanding leagues in Europe, while the Robins will have an extremely talented 23-year old at their disposal. The American might be Lee Johnson’s second choice at first but he’ll surely get his chances.
A potential stumble could be the fact that Steffen will need a work permit to play for City, as he’s coming from outside the EU. But if all the paperwork is done and everything goes through, Bristol City will be wise to bring in Zack Steffen.