Jurgen Klinsmann on Matt Miazga's transfer to Chelsea: "It's courageous"

CARSON, Calif.--Matt Miazga's coaches with the U.S. men's national soccer teams are delighted to see his transfer to Chelsea, a move that U23 boss Andreas Herzog predicted would give the Yanks “a real good center back for the future.”

The 20-year-old Red Bulls defender's long-expected move from the New York Red Bulls to the English Premier League was announced Saturday.

“Obviously, it's a huge move for Matt,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said during a news conference Saturday morning at StubHub Center. “I mean, being 20 years of age and then getting that opportunity now, going overseas and proving himself, is big. It's big for our program, it's big for us when a player moves to a [UEFA] Champions League team, a big team, a big club. So we're happy for him, we're pleased, but we know also he's just developing.”

The New Jersey-born Miazga, a fixture on the U23 team's backline, played for his parents' native Poland at the U14 and U16 levels before joining the U.S. youth national teams program in 2013. He had been in the Southern California camp with the senior team the past couple of weeks before heading to London ahead of Saturday's announcement.

He signed a Homegrown contract with the Red Bulls in 2013 and last year started 28 MLS matches, including post-season games, in central defense. He also made his full senior national team debut in November's World Cup qualifying win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Herzog said Miazga would be available when the U23s face Colombia in a home-and-home playoff in March for a berth in this summer's Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

“Of course, it won't be easy to get the starting job [at Chelsea], to be honest, but it's huge for him,” said Herzog, a former Austrian national team star. “It's a big honor for him, it's goof for US Soccer that a young player gets the opportunity and signs with one of the best clubs in Europe. It will be a huge, like, an adventure for him, because everything will be new [and] he trains and plays with the best players in Europe. It's amazing.”

Herzog said it wasn't really a concern that Miazga will initially get sporadic, if any, first-team action at Chelsea.

“When you sign a young player, you have to have a plan of how you want to develop him,” Herzog said. “For sure, Chelsea's a good team, they will do a good job, and then we have a real good center back for the future.”

Klinsmann agreed.

“In the long run, obviously, he's a player we're going to count on, because he's shown already a lot of potential over the last two years with our programs, but also with the Red Bulls, and now this is a big, big step,” the US senior team coach said. “But we've got to be patient there. It will take time. He will go there to learn, and it will take time until he really gets his chances there.

“I don't know how Chelsea will handle it, maybe similar to what Tottenham did with DeAndre Yedlin, giving him on loan here and there and [through those] just giving opportunities to play, so we'll see. But it's courageous from Matt. It's a big opportunity, there's no doubt about it, so we are thrilled for him.”