Zack Steffen and Brad Guzan - Columbus Crew SC Atlanta United - All-Star game
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Steffen joins Manchester City: What other GKs went from MLS to Europe?

From Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year to a big-money transfer to Europe, Zack Steffen is following a path laid out by more than a few before him. 

As the 23-year-old makes his move to Manchester City, he's not the first high-profile goalkeeper to jump from MLS to Europe. A US national team starter, Steffen is set to take on a new challenge in his career. As he gets set to swap Columbus for Manchester next summer, let's take a look at five high-profile keepers to move from MLS to Europe.

Brad Friedel 

Brad Friedel with the US national team | Reuters/Action Images

The first notable 'keeper to make the jump from MLS to Europe, Friedel didn't even earn his professional debut in the US. Instead, he started with Danish club Brøndby IF after being denied a work permit in England. He would fail in two further attempts to gain a work permit, take a sojourn in Turkey with Galatasaray, then join MLS at its inception in 1996 with Columbus Crew SC. He made 38 appearances with the Crew over a year and a half, winning 1997 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in the process, before moving to Liverpool after the season for a £1.7 million fee.

Friedel made 31 appearances for Liverpool over three seasons before landing at Blackburn, where he'd have no such trouble getting games. He spent eight seasons with the club, seven in the Premier League. While in England's top division he started all but four league games over those seven years. He joined Aston Villa next, where he spent three seasons, then moved to Tottenham where he'd finish his career. Between 2004-12, Friedel started every Premier League game available.

Like the next four on this list, Friedel made his way back to MLS eventually. Ahead of the 2018 season, the New England Revolution appointed Friedel as head coach. 

Marcus Hahnemann

Marcus Hahnemann with Wolverhampton | Getty Images

Waaaaay back. 

Hahnemann started his career with the Seattle Sounders in their pre-MLS days before joining the league in 1997 with the Colorado Rapids. He made 65 appearances before moving to Fulham in 1999, but never quite got settled with the London club. He joined Reading United in 2002 and spent the majority of his career there, which included two seasons in the Premier League. He started every one of his club's games in the Prem.

The 'keeper made nine appearances with the US national team and ended his career back where it started: with the Sounders. He made four appearances in the 2013 season. 

Tim Howard

Tim Howard with Everton | Reuters

After breaking through with the MetroStars, Howard earned a $4 million transfer to English giants Manchester United in 2003. He was 24-years-old and bought to be the club's first-choice goalkeeper. 

He was at first, and was named to the PFA Premier League Team of the Year after his first season, but spent the next season yo-yo'ing between the field and the bench. When Edwin van der Sar signed, it sealed Howard's fate. He moved to Everton and went on to make more than 400 appearances for the club. 

In 2016, he returned to MLS with the Rapids. He's made 75 appearances with the clubs in two-and-a-half years and the 39-year-old is coming back next season.

Brad Guzan

Brad Guzan with Middlesbrough | Action Images / Reuters

In 2005, Guzan got his MLS debut with now-defunct Chivas USA. He spent three-and-a-half seasons with the club and won 2007 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. In 2008, he was bought by Aston Villa for $1 million.

An issue for Guzan was that Aston Villa signed him the same summer as Friedel, who was the team's first-choice goalkeeper. In his first four seasons with the club, Guzan made just eight league appearances. But in 2012 he was the team's starter and named the club's Player of the Year. He stayed with Villa until 2016, when he moved to recently promoted Middlesbrough. He stuck with them for only a season, when Atlanta United brought him back to MLS.

Over two years, he's made 47 appearances for the Fives Stripes as the club has been one of the most successful in the league.

Bill Hamid

Bill Hamid with FC Midtjylland | Courtesy of FC Midtjylland

The most recent high-profile keeper to try his hand in Europe, Hamid returned home quicker than the others.

D.C. United's first Homegrown, Hamid made 184 appearances for his hometown club from 2010-17, winning 2014 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and emerging on the USMNT radar in the process. After the 2017 season, he tried his hand in Denmark with FC Midtjylland, but made just one appearance with the club, winning the Danish Superliga, before returning to D.C. on loan this summer. 

Hamid picked up right where he left off in MLS, with five shutouts in 14 games as United climbed the table to make an improbable appearance in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup playoffs. 


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