Ahead of Friday’s U.S. men’s national team friendly against Brazil, we sat down with emerging 23-year-old U.S. and Columbus goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who was the man of the match in the U.S.’s 1-1 tie at France right before Les Bleus won the World Cup this summer. He joined the Planet Fútbol Podcast to discuss a number of topics, including his rise to the national team, his winding path from college, to Europe, to MLS and where his career may be headed next.
A selection of the conversation can be seen below. You can listen to full discussion in the podcast console here and you can subscribe to and download the Planet Fútbol Podcast on iTunes. Recent guests include RB Leipzig assistant and former New York Red Bulls manager Jesse Marsch and Roma sporting director Monchi.
On his European ambitions and Columbus recently turning down a transfer offer for Steffen of nearly $4 million from Bristol City in the English second tier:
“It’s amazing to feel wanted to get those types of offers. And I do want to go over to Europe. Whenever that is, I have little say in it. But I think everything happens for a reason. The fact that didn’t happen, it happened and we move on, and I’m in a good place in Columbus with great teammates and coaches, and I get the opportunity to come with the national team and play amazing games. So I’m happy.”
On what he wants to achieve in the sport:
“There’s lots that I want to achieve in the sport. I want to win games, want to win championships. I want to go to the World Cup. I want to win a World Cup. I want to play in Champions League. I want to have fun throughout all of that, and I want my family to be a part of that through the entire path. And when I hang up my boots and gloves at the end, I want to tell myself I gave everything to the sport.”
On what it’s like playing in Columbus right now with a move to Austin in the offing, and whether that brings extra incentive to trying to win a title in Columbus this season:
“Yeah. If we were to go and were to win, that would be a fairytale ending for Columbus. But at the same time, it is tough to ignore all the stuff that’s going on and stay focused and stay motivated with doing your job. Because that’s not our job to decide if we stay or go. So I would say obviously with everything going on it does motivate us to come together more. And the fans are more involved, the diehard fans, and more eager. We want it even more, because that would be awesome.”
On how often he goes out in public in Columbus and hears someone say “Save the Crew”:
“People walk by me and instead of just saying, ‘Hi, how’s it going, Zack,’ they just whisper ‘Save the Crew.’ And I look back and look like an idiot. I don’t know who’s talking to me (laughs). But yeah, it’s really all over the city. People who don’t even go to our games, who haven’t been to our games in years, are bringing it up. I would say it’s very contagious in Columbus.”