Sebastian Soto is headed back to Norwich City, after the second-tier English side recalled the U.S. national team forward from his loan to the Netherlands' Telstar.
Soto, 20, scored seven goals in 12 appearances with Telstar in the Dutch second tier, and he'll hope to bring that goalscoring form to the U.K., provided he's able to secure a work permit, per the club's announcement. It's hard to fathom the club recalling him from his loan if receiving a work permit was not imminent. Norwich City currently tops the Championship and is in prime position to get promoted back to the Premier League.
Soto made waves in the fall when he left his international recruitment open to both the USA and Chile, going as far as calling it "50-50." He represented the U.S. at the 2019 U-20 World Cup, where he scored four goals, but he's maintained both of his options, even speaking with now-former Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda. With Rueda off to Colombia, that line of communication is no longer pertinent, and Soto looked quite at home in his U.S. senior national team debut in November, scoring twice off the bench in a rout of Panama.
Gregg Berhalter has spoken highly of Soto, who has an opportunity to carve out a role amid a pool of strikers vying for top billing.
"He's a player we really like. He's been in our program," Berhalter told Sirius XM prior to calling Soto in for November's friendlies. "All we want to do is create the environment that players want to be in. We don't like to lose players.
"There’s no way I’d be happy about him going to play for Chile, because we feel like he can be an important player for us in the future.
"It’s trying to create an environment players want to be in, it’s trying to play a way player want to play, and hoping they choose for us. Sergiño [Dest] is another guy, he had options. He could have easily played for Holland and he decided to play for us. So we try to do the work on our end that we can keep these players.”
Soto returned to the U.S. in December, taking advantage of a red-card suspension that ruled him out of action for Telstar to come back for a friendly vs. El Salvador in Florida.