COLUMBUS, Ohio — For Zack Steffen, the first major transfer of his career isn’t happening in typical fashion.
The Columbus Crew SC goalkeeper won’t be getting a transfer-window announcement in June. He won’t have the summer off to make his move, and he won’t be able to finish out the Crew’s season after 15 games in 2019.
“It’s definitely weird,” he said with a laugh. “But it’s nice that I was able to have this time in Columbus and get my mind ready for the trip over and enjoy the last couple months that I had here. It’s been great.”
Steffen’s transfer to Manchester City was announced in December, but the star goalkeeper has remained with the Crew until this summer’s transfer window. Because of his commitments with the US men’s national team at the Gold Cup this summer, this Saturday’s matchup against New York City FC at Mapfre Stadium will be his final appearance for the club (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, TSN in Canada).
Crew fans can expect a farewell message in the Columbus Dispatch Saturday, and Steffen said he’s grateful for the team and city that facilitated his jump from struggling Bundesliga reserve goalkeeper to internationally recognized talent.
“Columbus has been an amazing time and a crucial part of my career,” he said. “It’s really the start of my career, and it’s been great. I’ll definitely make time to reflect … when I’m settled over in Europe.”
But before that, he’ll have to deal with a whirlwind of a summer.
After his final Crew match Saturday, Steffen will join the USMNT in Annapolis, Maryland, and will spend at least the majority of June with the national team, where he hopes he can keep his momentum for his City move.
“It will be fun; it will be good,” he said of his Gold Cup summer. “It should be some good games and good competition with the national team. I’m excited to get back with that group and be pushed there and have a successful tournament with them. I’m hoping that will really get me ready to go over and start preseason out on the right foot.”
When his international duties are done, he expects to head to Manchester to finalize the transfer.
Ahead of all that travel, he said it’s been nice to have some normalcy in the town he’s come to love.
“This summer is really hectic and really busy,” he said. “These days in Columbus have been really nice. My family is here and I’ve had some time to kind of relax and just take everything in. But it’s also been busy with different interviews and getting my apartment ready and getting packed up for the Gold Cup and packed up to leave Columbus.”
Steffen will have a bit of unfinished business this weekend, however, and said he “for sure” wants to “go out on a good note” for the Columbus fans, who he said were “amazing.”
“They saved the Crew, they supported us through thick and thin, and they’ve been there every step of the way,” he said. “Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. They’ve given me so much confidence and motivation and passion to strive for greatness. I’ll never ever forget my time here or the people here.”