Zach Pfeffer's burgeoning professional soccer career in America will be put on hold, as the future Philadelphia Union star will get a chance to play in Germany's Bundesliga for a year.
The Union's first ever Home Grown Player signing will head back to Germany with Hoffenheim, but this time it will be a loan, not a training session. From January 7 to December 31, 2013, Pfeffer will live in Germany and train with Hoffenheim, while also playing for one of the club's various levels of teams.
Philadelphia's head coach John Hackworth said similar things about Pfeffer's loan to Hoffenheim as when the Union brought in the German club's Kai Herdling on loan.
"Loaning Zach to Hoffenheim is a win-win situation for all parties involved," said Hackworth to PhiladelphiaUnion.com. "While we will miss Zach for the 2013 season, we know that the experience at this stage of his maturation process will be invaluable to both him and the club for the future."
Pfeffer has gone to Germany to train with Hoffenheim twice in the last three years during Major League Soccer offseasons. The Union have also created a partnership with Hoffenheim.
The likely landing place for Pfeffer would be on Hoffenheim's reserve team, which would happen to be the current squad for which former Union loanee Herdling has played. Even if he does end up playing in the German fourth division, where the reserve teams compete, Pfeffer will have the opportunity to play more than he has with the Union since signing after the 2010 MLS regular season.
"We looked at it and it was really probably the best spot for me in terms of my overall development as a player at this point in my career where I am, you know with my age and everything included in that," Pfeffer told PhiladelphiaUnion.com. "The main thing is I need a place to play games most importantly good competitive games... in [MLS] reserve league we have 10 and that's really not enough, not even close to enough."
Hoffenheim has three American internationals on squad rosters already, with Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams in the first team and Joe Gyau on loan to St. Pauli.
In April, the Brotherly Game was told by a source that the Union were internally discussing a loan of Pfeffer to Hoffenheim.
"The temporary transfer would be a part of the Union's growing partnership with Hoffenheim," the Brotherly Game, through managing editor Scott Kessler, reported in April, "who recently loaned reserve team captain Kai Herdling to Philadelphia."
Pfeffer has played in four games in two seasons with the Union, starting two of them.