United States men’s national team goalkeeper Zack Steffen feels he’s already grown on the field with club side Manchester City, even though he’s only been with the first team for a little over two months.
Steffen, 25, signed with Man City back in July of 2019, but spent the 2019-20 season on loan with German side Fortuna Dusseldorf. Steffen was brought in this season primarily to back up Ederson, but he has backstopped the club to two wins in the EFL Cup.
“Their goalie coach is really detailed, and is very eager to make me a better goalkeeper,” Steffen told reporters ahead of Thursday’s friendly against Wales. “And then just working with those guys day in and day out, the training, the level of intensity and skill and talent and everything that goes into it, I feel myself growing.”
In terms of what areas have been sharpened, Steffen pointed to the technical side of his game.
“It’s just so much more detailed than anything I’ve ever really been a part of, whether that’s hand positioning when you’re just catching the ball, or it’s a set position on a certain shot, or one-v-one.
“There’s so many little aspects that I obviously knew of and I know the techniques, but I feel like I never really got the reasons why you do that. And so, I feel like I’m learning some new techniques obviously but [also] some reasons of why these techniques are gonna help me in the long run.”
Steffen’s brief spell with City has now allowed him to see manager Pep Guardiola up close. He said while he’s still in the process of getting to know the manager and staff, he’s been impressed with what he’s seen so far.
“I feel like [Guardiola] has a good balance of being focused in intense,” Steffen said. “But with that he brings humor, and he brings just his genuineness, and just kindness. So it’s been cool to see how he works, how his coaching staff works.”
Steffen added that he’s also noticed an increase in how players are treated now that he’s in the Premier League.
“The player care is just more prominent,” he said. “They want us to be fully focused on football, and they really help us out and worry about everything else whether that’s cars, whether it’s banking, whether it’s housing, family stuff. Anything at all, they’re one call away, one text away, and they really make us feel comfortable.”
But for the next week, Steffen’s job will be to integrate himself with a U.S. side that hasn’t played a match since February, with many first choice players rejoining the U.S. team for the first time in over year. Steffen’s last appearance for the U.S. came on Oct. 15, 2019 in a 2-0 loss to Canada in the CONCACAF Nations League.
“The vibe so far has been really good,” he said. “Everybody’s excited to be here and everybody’s excited to see each other, meet one another. Training has been short and sharp and quick. It’s obviously tough when there’s so many new guys and we don’t have so many training days. But now we’re excited for the game, we’re excited to get on the field each day and learn from one another and see what everybody’s really made of.”