Mike Stobe - Getty Images for New York Red Bu
The brightest Philadelphia Union prospect in the American international system typically has decidedly been Zach Pfeffer since he signed with the club in December of 2010. After Pfeffer, senior roster players Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo and Zac MacMath held the best possibilities of giving the Union their first ever internationally capped player for the United States. According to Tab Ramos, head coach of the United States Men's National under-20 Team, the new answer to the question could be Zack Steffen.
Ramos told ussoccer.com that Steffen was brought into camp to give the coaching staff a chance to get a preview of him heading toward the next international cycle in 2015.
"He's a '95 and, even though the main concern is qualifying for the World Cup," Ramos said in ussoccer.com's Marbella Cup 2012 preview, "we also want to be looking at what's coming down the road and what the core of the next cycle is going to be. To me, it looks like Zack Steffen is going to be one of those guys..."
Steffen has played well enough at other levels in the US youth system that he drew praise from Ramos and has forced his way into the discussion for a peripheral role as a third goalkeeper for this current cycle.
"Zack is really one of those guys where, at this point, he's at a very good level," Ramos said to ussoccer.com. "...we want to start bringing him along when we can. For qualifiers, we will have three goalkeepers, so there's a good chance he'll be one of the keepers in that group."
It isn't just Ramos who has lauded Steffen's rise. Travis M. Clark, of Top Drawer Soccer, agreed with the thought of Steffen as a major goalkeeping talent.
"Steffen is great - probably No 1 GK prospect in the class of '13," Clark tweeted to the Brotherly Game.
The under-20 squad will face Canada, Scotland and Azerbaijan in friendlies this coming week in the 2012 Marbella Cup.