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Former Maryland goalie Zack Steffen named U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year

This is the Maryland Minute, a short story followed by a roundup of Terps-related news.

MLS: Eastern Conference Semifinal-Columbus Crew SC at New York Red Bulls Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Steffen has quickly made a name for himself since leaving Maryland men’s soccer in 2014. On Tuesday, the 23-year-old goalkeeper was named the U.S. National Team’s Male Player of the Year.

Steffen made his national team debut in January and subsequently made five starts throughout the year. He allowed just 1.27 goals per match and posted two shutouts, but the signature performance came on June 9 against France, who was tuning up for what would become a World-Cup winning run. Steffen made seven saves in a 1-1 draw. Team USA didn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but Steffen has established himself as its goalie of the future.

On the club level, Steffen has been one of the top goalies in Major League Soccer for a couple years now, and his 2018 performance earned him MLS Goalkeeper of the Year honors last month. In 29 appearances with the Columbus Crew, Steffen recorded 10 shutouts and made 66 saves in total. Manchester City officially purchased him from Columbus for a $7 million transfer fee last week.

Steffen posted his thoughts on a milestone 2018 on the U.S. soccer website. Here’s what he had to say about that friendly against France:

It was crazy. The fans obviously understand the game, the way they cheered or whistled. I was telling myself to take it all in and not to think, just to play. It was loud and very intense. For a second you felt really small in this huge stadium playing one of the best teams on the planet. You look back and realize that a month after we held them to a draw, they were lifting the World Cup.

Obviously there are things I need to learn and grow from and get better at, but that game gave me confidence to get back to Columbus and keep working just as hard. Games like that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

In his brief Maryland career, Steffen made 48 appearances and posted 17 shutouts. He left after his sophomore season to pursue professional opportunities in Germany. Steffen was succeeded in goal by Cody Niedermaier and Dayne St. Clair, the latter of whom anchored this year’s run to the national championship.

In other news

Steffen’s college coach, Sasho Cirovski, was named Top Drawer Soccer’s National Coach of the Year yesterday.

It’s National Signing Day for college football! With the staff still in transition and many commits waiting to see how they fit into Maryland’s future plans, though, don’t expect much news from College Park.

More on that uncertain (but still optimistic) vibe from The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell.

Linebacker commit Kameron Blount, featured in that piece, will not sign in the early window. But Maryland will sign the top prospect in its current class, four-star wide receiver Isaiah Hazel.

The Post’s Fall All-Met teams are out! You can find Terp commits Jordan Houston and Mason Lunsford on the offensive first team, with Hazel on the second team. Blount and cornerback Lavonte Gater are on the defensive first team. The lists include plenty of other targets for 2019 and beyond.

One day after four Maryland men’s lacrosse players earned preseason All-American recognition from Inside Lacrosse, a nation-best nine players on the women’s squad made the rosters. Midfielder Jen Giles, defender Julia Braig and transfer midfielder Erica Evans were all named to the first team.