In our continuing series of former Goats making it big overseas, this week we highlight a former goalkeeper who has finally found his wings in the English Premier League, Brad Guzan. Plying his trade for Aston Villa for the past five seasons, he's seen his ups and downs, but has kept the faith in his abilities.
Guzan has for the most part been a backup over the course of his time with Villa, playing primarily cup games, and the odd stretch when the starter was injured or ineffective. With the fixture congestion in English football, he has seen time in a variety of cup competitions, including the Capital One (League Cup), FA, and UEFA Cups (now known as the Europa League). Whenever he’s been called upon, he’s always delivered. He’s averaged playing ten matches a year while being in England, and his record so far this season is two wins, three ties, and four losses.
With a new manager this season in Paul Lambert, Aston Villa has struggled this year and seem to be going through a transition phase. Lambert made a decision to switch from grizzled EPL veteran Shay Given in goal in favor of Guzan. As a result, Guzan has taken over the regular starter's job and looks to have it firmly in his grasp.
What's coming up for Guzan? Now, the run up to Thanksgiving (well at least for us in the states) is very challenging. They face Manchester City, and Arsenal. This past weekend, they lost to Manchester United 3-2 after being ahead 2-0, to drop one space above the relegation zone (17th in the table), right above Reading.
When it comes to the U.S. Men's National Team, Guzan appears to be the clear backup to Tim Howard, as he's been consistently called up for the World Cup qualifiers this year. Given the fact that Guzan has gotten consistent minutes for his club in Europe for the first time, it should help him stay in Jurgen Klinsmann's plans, although he will face stiff competition from keepers like Nick Rimando, Bill Hamid, and Sean Johnson. There’s always a chance that Brad could replace Tim, when the time comes for Howard to hang up the international boots.
Around the internet there have been a lot of people talking about the ex-Goat. This piece from Brad’s adopted city talks about his excitement about the future. Also, when Lambert named him the first team starting goalkeeper, ESPN put this up about Brad's journey to get to the number one man for Villa.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!