COLUMBUS — In conjunction with U.S. Soccer, Columbus Crew SC today announced that goalkeeper Zack Steffen has been named the 2018 U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year. Steffen, 23, is the youngest goalkeeper to win U.S. Soccer’s Male Player of the Year award and just the second player to earn the honor in his debut year with the U.S. Men’s National Team. Steffen is the first player in Club history to win this award while a member of Crew SC.
Steffen joins Brad Friedel, Tim Howard and Kasey Keller as one of only four U.S. Soccer goalkeepers to win the award. In 2018, Steffen’s debut year with the U.S. Men’s National Team, the goalkeeper earned six caps and registered two shutouts, which tied with Kasey Keller (1990) and Troy Perkins (2009) for most caps by a goalkeeper in his debut year with the Stars and Stripes.
“It’s an honor to be put with those names that have won before me and to have the respect and confidence from teammates, coaches and staff,” Steffen said. “I’m thankful for my support system. Without them I couldn’t have done any of this. It gives me motivation and confidence to keep going and do bigger and better things.”
Steffen’s debut for the U.S. came as a substitute in a friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina on January 28, where he helped the Americans to a 0-0 draw. Steffen then earned his first start with the National Team in a friendly match against Paraguay on March 27, posting a shutout in a 1-0 victory. The goalkeeper followed that up with a start in a friendly against France on June 9, 2018, registering seven saves en route to helping the U.S. earn a 1-1 draw against the eventual 2018 FIFA World Cup champions. Steffen recorded his second shutout of the year against Mexico on September 11, helping the Stars and Stripes to a 1-0 victory over their CONCACAF rivals.
At the Club level, Steffen was voted the 2018 Major League Soccer Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year, becoming the second-youngest player in MLS history to be named Goalkeeper of the Year and only the second player in Black & Gold history to receive the award. Steffen was also named to Major League Soccer’s 2018 Best XI, the first Crew SC goalkeeper since 1997 to receive the honor. Additionally, Steffen made a second-half appearance in goal in the 2018 MLS All-Star Game against Italian side Juventus, making three saves in match action, his first All-Star appearance.
During the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs, Steffen made three appearances (all starts), registering one shutout. In Crew SC’s Eastern Conference Knockout Round match against D.C. United on November 1, the goalkeeper saved two penalty kicks during the penalty kick shootout, denying Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta. Steffen then posted a clean sheet against the New York Red Bulls in Leg 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Votes for U.S. Soccer Player of the Year awards are collected from respective 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.