USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen reveals he STILL hasn’t spoken to Gregg Berhalter since his World Cup snub as he admits it was a ‘tough pill to swallow’ but used therapy to move on
US international goalkeeper Zach Steffen has recently opened up on the ‘tough pill to swallow’ of missing the World Cup.
Steffen, who this season is on loan at English second-tier team Middlesbrough from English champion Manchester City, was once far and away considered the United States No. 1 keeper, leaving both fans and media members questioning why he was left off of the roster for Qatar.
And the goalkeeper has now opened up on the ‘tough’ experience of having to watch the tournament from home.
‘It was really tough,’ Steffen told ESPN. ‘But I wanted to support the boys because the brotherhood we have is so special and that’s something you don’t really let anything get in the way of. ‘It was tough to watch it with family and friends and not be there but that’s football and that’s life and everything happens for a reason.’
US World Cup head coach Greg Berhalter, Steffen’s former coach with the Columbus Crew, said the decision was ‘heart-breaking’ but also hinted that he had a desire to have an undisputed No. 1 which in part led to his decision.
US and Middlesbrough goalkeeper Zach Steffen has opened up about missing the World Cup
‘I didn’t hear about that until a couple of months later,’ Steffen said. ‘I heard someone say it but I thought it was a rumor.
‘He and I have a long history and, yeah, I thought it was a little bit different than it was. That was a tough pill to swallow for sure but if that’s the way it is then that’s the way it is.
‘He had been the starter for this national team, even when not playing well. And now he’s not on the roster.’
Steffen also admitted to going to therapy in order to get help him deal with the hurt of the snub.
‘In the past I would bottle things up but that’s never a good thing to do so this time, I spoke about it to my family and my friends,’ he said.
‘I have a life coach I spoke with, and a therapist. By getting it all out there and getting your feelings off your chest, that helped. It still took some time to get over but in time it just makes you stronger and you can use it as motivation to keep working and keep moving.’
Steffen also revealed he hasn’t spoken to Berhalter since the phone call saying he was not going to the World Cup.
‘I haven’t spoken to Greg since that phone call that said you weren’t going to come. I thought things were different and we were closer but it’s not that way whatever.’
Matt Turner has became the unquestioned No. 1 keeper for the United States national team
Matt Turner, Sean Johnson, and Ethan Horvath were chosen for the World Cup roster
Former US International Stuart Holden at one point speculated whether or not something happened behind the scenes between Steffen and Berhalter that also played a role in his exclusion from the roster.
‘I still wonder if there’s some part that has gone on behind the scenes with Steffen and Berhalter, but you can’t say Berhalter wasn’t brave in his decision,’ he said.
Holden went on the reference that Steffen was originally a ‘Berhalter guy’ having played under him and succeeded at the club level along with originally being his go to keeper for the national team.
‘This is a guy I think that we can unanimously agree was Berhalter guy. With him in Columbus. He brought him back from Europe,’ said Holden.
Stuart Holden questioned if something happened behind the scenes with Berhalter and Steffen