U.S. Soccer announced that Zack Steffen was named the 2018 Male Player of the Year in an announcement on ESPN.com. He is the fourth and youngest goalkeeper to claim the award, after Kasey Keller, Tim Howard, and Brad Friedel.
Steffen earned 44 percent of the vote. RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams finished second with 38 percent, and Schalke’s Weston McKennie earned 16 percent. The voting body is comprised of “National Team coaches, National Team players who earned a cap in 2018, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, National Women’s Soccer League head coaches for the WNT and American soccer league (MLS and USL) head coaches for the MNT, select media members and former players and administrators.”
Steffen made his senior international debut in 2018 after being a regular fixture at the youth national team level. He earned six caps, highlighted by two shutouts and an eight-save performance against eventual World Cup winners France.
The 23-year old began his professional career with German club SC Freiburg after two seasons at the University of Maryland. He moved to MLS in 2016, joining the Columbus Crew. This past season, Steffen received a league Best XI selection and was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. He recently completed a move to Premier League giants Manchester City, who he will join in July 2019 for a reported $7.5 million.
In a statement to USSoccer.com, he assured fans and pundits that he’s not going to become complacent: “I know I can’t rest on any of these laurels. For me it’s a mentality that I have to bring into any camp, into every training. And that has to be, to become a leader on and off the field and somebody that my team can depend on. It’s a mentality that this is my spot and I’m not going to let anybody take it.”