A former US youth national team goalkeeper is coming back to the US.
Columbus Crew SC announced on Friday morning that they have signed goalkeeper Zack Steffen. A native of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and a former member of the Philadelphia Union's academy, Steffen arrives in Columbus as a discovery signing after having last played for German club Freiburg.
Steffen shined during his tenure in the US youth national team setup, most notably for the Under-20s in 2015, when he served as the No. 1 goalkeeper at both the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship and the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, where he played every minute of every match in the team's run to the quarterfinals.
“Zack is a talented goalkeeper with great potential and someone who has performed on the biggest stages for the United States youth national teams,” said Columbus sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter in a release. “We believe he has a bright future and we look forward to working with him.”
The University of Maryland product began his professional career when he signed for Freiburg on December 12, 2014. He made his debut for the club's reserve side on August 1, 2015, keeping a clean sheet against Saarbrücken in the Regionalliga Südwest. In all, Steffen made 14 appearances during his first full professional season with Freiburg's reserve team (SC Freiburg II), registering three shutouts. He was reportedly looked at as a possible third-string goalkeeper for the German club heading into their upcoming Bundesliga season.
Before turning professional, Steffen played for the University of Maryland in 2013 and 2014, logging every minute in goal for the Terrapins over those two seasons. He recorded 17 shutouts and was named to the ACC All-Freshman team in 2013. He also captured NCAA Championship Most Valuable Defensive Player honors that season and was named the Most Valuable Defensive Player of the Big Ten Tournament in 2014.