Just a day after adding defensive help in the signing of Nicolai Næss, Columbus Crew SC turned to the transfer market to add some depth. The Black & Gold announced on Friday the signing of goalkeeper Zack Steffen. Per the club press release, Steffen, a Pennsylvania native, "comes to Columbus as a Discovery Signing after having last played for German club SC Freiburg."
"Zack is a talented goalkeeper with great potential and someone who has performed on the biggest stages for the United States youth National Teams," head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter said in the release. "We believe he has a bright future and we look forward to working with him."
Steffen played collegiately at the University of Maryland from 2013-14 where he was in the net for every minute over the two seasons. Pre the team press release, Steffen "recorded 17 clean sheets over his tenure 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."
Following his time with the Terrapins, Steffen signed his first professional contract with SC Freiburg in December of 2014. In his first season with the club, the keeper made 14 appearance with the reserve team, recording three shutouts.
As the starting goalkeeper for the United States at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, Steffen recorded two shutouts in five matches played, helping the U.S. to qualify for the Playoff Stage. There, the young keeper registered a shutout against El Salvador in a win that ensured U.S. qualification to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Steffen was the starting goalkeeper for the U-20 World Cup as the U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals. He recorded shutouts of New Zealand in the Group Stage as well as Colombia in the knockout rounds.
This is now the second move made by Crew SC during the summer transfer window and comes just days after third-string goalkeeper Matt Pacifici was put on the season-ending injury list after battling concussion issues the majority of his rookie season. Although Steffen may not have an immediate impact for the Black & Gold, he is an exciting prospect between the pipes for the future and someone who can learn under current goalkeepers Steve Clark and Brad Stuver.