Miazga move a big step for MLS

Chelsea's Eden Hazard, second right, celebrates scoring a penalty kick during the English FA Cup fourth round soccer match between Milton Keynes Dons and Chelsea at Stadium mk in Milton Keynes, England, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Last week, American centerback Matt Miazga moved to Chelsea F.C. from the New York Red Bulls in a move that has been both applauded and questioned.

According to Fox Sports, Chelsea paid around $5 million for the 20-year-old defender’s services.

With six months left on his contract with the Red Bulls, Miazga informed the club that he had no intention of renewing his deal, forcing New York to sell the centerback now in order to not lose their player for free when his deal expired.

Miazga had a wealth of suitors in Europe that included Stuttgart, Red Bull Leipzig, Vfl Bochum, Olympique Lyon, Swansea City, Chelsea, Stoke City, Leicester City, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal, according to MLS Transfers.

U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has been adamant that he wants his players testing themselves at the highest level, but the move to one of the biggest clubs in the world may not be exactly what Miazga needs right now.

While Chelsea are an extremely successful club, they are not very well known for developing young players. Backed by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Chelsea simply fill their needs by buying already world class players, which Miazga may well be one day, but is not right now.

Although the club has confirmed that Miazga will stay with the team for the rest of the season sohis development can be judged first hand, he will likely be sent out on loan next season to gain more experience.

Currently, Chelsea have 34 players out on loan, many more than any other club in the world. This list includes players like Mohamed Salah, Juan Cuadrado and Marco Van Ginkel.

It was recently announced that club legend and fellow centre back John Terry would not be returning to the club next season, opening a potential spot for Miazga in the future. Currently, in addition to Terry, Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma are ahead of him in the pecking order. Cahill is a mainstay in the English national team and Zouma is rated by many as one of the most promising defenders in the world.

What Miazga needs right now in such a crucial part of his development is playing time. It would be unfair to assume that Chelsea would give him substantial time right away as neither party would benefit from that.

Miazga is the model of what Major League Soccer is striving for with its homegrown player rule. The homegrown player rule was established in 2008 and allows clubs to sign amateur players from the own development academies straight to their teams, foregoing the MLS SuperDraft.

The Clifton, New Jersey native is a product of the New York Red Bulls academy and signed his first professional contract at the age of 18. After one year on the bench, Miazga started seeing the field more in his second year before breaking out in his third year in the league. 

With his move to Europe, Miazga is following in the footsteps of fellow homegrown players Andy Najar and DeAndre Yedlin. Najar has become a star for Belgium-based club Anderlecht while Yedlin was sent on loan to Sunderland this season by his parent club.


Antonio Salazar is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at antonio.salazr@uconn.edu.