Zack Steffen becomes 1st Maryland soccer player to start in English Premier League

Kevin Brown
·2 min read

Steffen becomes first Terp to start in English Premier League originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Zack Steffen made Maryland soccer history on Sunday, becoming the first Terp to start in the English Premier League in Manchester City's 3-1 win against Chelsea. 

Steffen replaced City's usual starter, Ederson, in net as the Brazilian goalkeeper confirmed he was among the handful of players at the club to test positive for coronavirus. Manchester City's Dec. 28 match against Everton was postponed hours before kickoff due to the outbreak. 

Steffen, who played two seasons at Maryland (2013-14), struggled out of the gate, making an early error that could have been costly for the City defense. When defensive midfielder Rodri passed the ball back to Steffen in net, the United States Men's National Team keeper picked up the ball, which gave Chelsea an indirect free kick from a threatening position within the box. 

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Fortunately, nothing came of the opportunity as Chelsea failed to create meaningful chances and only registered two shots on target, compared to Manchester City's six. It took until stoppage time for Chelsea to finally get a good scoring opportunity when Callum Hudson-Odoi cashed in a consolation goal. 

There have been talented soccer stars to come out of College Park during Terrapin coach Sasho Cirovski's tenure. From USMNT mainstays like Graham Zusi to Omar Gonzalez, to current up-and-comers like Montreal midfielder Amar Sejdic or D.C. United's Donovan Pines, Maryland has been one of the leaders in producing pro talent after college. 

But until now, none have started a Premier League match. The last Terp to play in the EPL was Stoke City's Maurice Edu, a veteran midfielder who was another national team squad player. Steffen also joined quite an impressive list of American goalkeepers to play in the Premier League. 

Steffen's history-making start also came against countrymate Christian Pulisic, who failed to make much of an impact versus a stifling City defense.