COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC today announced that it has reached a historic transfer agreement with English Premier League club Manchester City Football Club. At the beginning of the 2019 Secondary Transfer Window, which opens July 9, 2019, goalkeeper Zack Steffen will be transferred to Manchester City Football Club. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed but the transfer fee is the largest in Club history and most ever received by an MLS club for a goalkeeper in the League’s 23-year history. Named a 2018 MLS All-Star and a rising U.S. Men’s National Team senior roster goalkeeper, Steffen, 23, has made 63 regular-season appearances (all starts) for Crew SC after making his MLS debut in 2017, while making 164 saves and registering 19 shutouts. Steffen remains a member of the Black & Gold roster with the goalkeeper set to depart the Club via transfer to Manchester City Football Club next summer.
This year, 23-year-old Steffen was voted the 2018 Major League Soccer Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year, becoming the second-youngest player in MLS history to be named Goalkeeper of the Year and only the second player in Black & Gold history to receive the award. Steffen was also named to Major League Soccer’s 2018 Best XI, the first Crew SC goalkeeper since 1997 to receive the honor. In 2018, Steffen made 29 regular-season appearances (all starts), while making 66 saves and recording 10 shutouts, which tied him with Jon Busch (2004) and William Hesmer (2008) for second place on Crew SC’s list of most shutouts by a player in a single regular-season.
“This is a historic transaction for the Club and a special moment for Zack Steffen that we are immensely proud of,” said Columbus Crew SC Interim General Manager Pat Onstad. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of two and a half years of development and success for Zack. As someone who worked closely with Zack throughout, on behalf of the Club, I would like to say that we couldn’t be happier for him. Manchester City Football Club is one of the top clubs in the world and we are pleased to finalize this agreement that benefits the player and both clubs. We continue to believe that players that come to Crew SC have an opportunity to develop and become great players either here in MLS or abroad. Ahead of Zack’s departure next summer, our scouts already have players targeted as the Club identifies a high-caliber replacement.”
Said Zack Steffen: “Any success that I have had as a goalkeeper in MLS with Crew SC is a testament to those around me who have pushed me – teammates, coaches, staff, family, friends and supporters. Today’s announcement regarding next summer is a special moment for me and I look forward to finishing my time with this Club on a strong note. I am eager to continue to put in the work to improve and be the best teammate I can.”
In just his second year in the League, Steffen made history by setting a new Black & Gold club record for the longest shutout in regular-season action, maintaining a clean sheet for 525 minutes. The streak spanned from the 46th minute of a home match against the San Jose Earthquakes on April 28 to the 30th minute of a home contest against Atlanta United FC on June 13. Steffen’s 525-minute streak is also the eighth-longest regular-season shutout streak in MLS history. For his efforts in the month of May, Steffen was named MLS Player of the Month presented by EA SPORTS™. In August, Steffen went on to make a second-half appearance in goal in the 2018 MLS All-Star Game against Italian side Juventus, making three saves in match action, his first All-Star appearance.
Steffen joined Crew SC as a Discovery Signing on July 22, 2016. In 2017, Steffen made his MLS debut, making 34 appearances (all starts) and recorded 16 wins and nine shutouts, as well as recording 98 saves. His 34 starts in the regular season tied Steve Clark’s Crew SC record for most starts by a goalkeeper in his first year of play. Steffen started in a Knockout Round against Atlanta United FC, recording an MLS career-best eight saves and his first Audi MLS Cup Playoffs shutout. As a result of Steffen playing, starting and recording a shutout, he became the youngest Crew SC goalkeeper to achieve each feat at 22 years, 207 days old. The goalkeeper’s performance in 2017 also earned him Crew SC’s Defender of the Year club award.
Prior to Crew SC, Steffen began his professional career when he signed for German side SC Freiburg on December 12, 2014. He made his debut for the reserve side on August 1, 2015, keeping a clean sheet against Saarbrücken in the Regionalliga Südwest. All-told, he made 14 appearances during his first full professional season with SC Freiburg II, registering three shutouts.
Steffen has earned six caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team, making his debut as a substitute in a friendly match against Bosnia-Herzegovina on January 28, 2018. Most recently, Steffen appeared in an international friendly against Colombia on October 11, 2018. The 23-year-old’s six caps in 2018 tied him with Kasey Keller and Troy Perkins for most caps by a goalkeeper in his debut year with the U.S. Men’s National Team. Additionally, Steffen was recently named one of five nominees for the 2018 U.S. Soccer Player of the Year Award. Prior to his time with the Men’s National Team, Steffen shined during his tenure with the United States Youth National Teams, most notably for the Under-20s during the summer of 2015, where he served as the primary goalkeeper at both the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship and the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
TRANSACTION: Columbus Crew SC agrees to transfer goalkeeper Zack Steffen to English Premier League club Manchester City Football Club at the opening of the 2019 Secondary Transfer Window on July 9, 2019. The transaction was announced on December 11, 2018. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed but the transfer fee is the largest in Club history and most ever received by an MLS club for a goalkeeper in the League’s 23-year history. Steffen remains a member of the Black & Gold roster with the goalkeeper set to depart the Club via transfer to Manchester City Football Club next summer.