CLIFTON, N.J. – It has been a year of transition for Matt Miazga, the former New York Red Bulls defender who was signed by Chelsea last year. Miazga is currently on loan with Dutch club Vitesse and scored his first goal in Europe a couple weeks ago.
Miazga, a 21-year old who already has two appearances with the United States national team, has seven matches played with Vitesse who are a mid-table team in Holland’s first division. He calls it “good so far” as he transitions from being one of the top young stars in MLS to now being tasked with being assimilated with Chelsea, a perennial Champions League club and one of the biggest teams in the world. He made two appearances last year for Chelsea in a down campaign for the club but the loan deal in Holland will help him grow and improve while getting regular matches in a top European league.
Signed by the Red Bulls in 2013 as an 18-year old, he staked a place in the first team and as a regular starter two years later under head coach Jesse Marsch.
“My dream was always to play at Europe at the highest level. I’m continuing my path towards that goal, I’ve set goals for myself,” Miazga toldMetroin an exclusive interview. “Red Bull was a very important part of my career. I grew up in the system since I was 14-years old. It was very hard leaving but it was something I wanted to do.”
Miazga spoke toMetroon Tuesday while he participated in a clinic in Clifton, his hometown, taking advantage of the winter break in the Dutch league to return home. The event was run by former Red Bulls defender Johnathan Borrajo (now with Miami FC in the NASL) and included current Red Bulls defender Connor Lade. Over 40 young soccer players attended the clinic at the New Jersey Stallions indoor facility.
He stays in contact with his former teammates including goalkeeper Luis Robles and midfielder Sean Davis.
As for his own career path and trajectory, Miazga is patient in his outlook as he readies to return to Holland later this week. Going from MLS to the English Premier League is daunting for any player, even one as talented with the physical skillset that Miazga possesses. He views the loan to Holland as a positive for his career – “it is a great learning environment for a young player” - and the Chelsea coaching staff call him twice a month to talk with him. They regularly provide video analysis and areas for improvement as they track his season on loan.
The club has also visited him several times this season.
As for the national team, newly appointed national team head coach Bruce Arena created a bit of a stir two weeks ago when he said that Miazga was not in his immediate plans for a call-up. Miazga earned his two international appearances under Jurgen Klinsmann, fired last month for two losses in World Cup qualifying.
“I haven’t spoken to him but I know they are monitoring me. I just got to do what I do, control what I can control which is try to play the best with my club,” Miazga said of Arena. “If I get called up, I get called up. If I don’t, I need to do well with my club.”