Just three days ago, my Twitter feed erupted when American journalist Jeffrey Carlisle unleashed this tweet upon the world:
— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) January 27, 2016
The rumours of Matt Miazga making the leap to England came out of absolutely nowhere. Even crazier, Stamford Bridge appeared to be his destination. I was immediately excited by the news but taken back at both how strong and sudden the reports were.
That day, my Twitter timeline generally consisted of Chelsea fans wondering who the hell Miazga is and why we were chasing him. My job then became to alert the Twitter world that this was indeed good news:
Miazga of course a downgrade from Stones but much cheaper and still with great potential. And he's American! I'm all for it.
— Evan McMurtrie (@EvanMcMurtrie) January 27, 2016
A day went by, and the hype over the possible signings of both Miazga and Alexandre Pato continued. Then yesterday, here on the east coast of the United States, I was just sitting down at my 8:30 am class when I saw this…
Guus says Matt Miazga will be a squad player when his deal is finalised and the manager will assess his qualities in training. #CFC
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 29, 2016
In May of 2013, Miazga took the next step by signing a homegrown contract with the Red Bulls. That next autumn, the defender made his first-team debut at just eighteen years of age. He is a prime example of rising to the top at your local club.
This past MLS season, Miazga established himself as a starter for the Red Bulls and made his name known throughout the league. He was widely regarded as one of the league’s greatest young talents.
Now, so suddenly, he has taken an even bigger step in his career: going abroad. Not only going abroad but joining Chelsea, the reigning champions of the Barclays Premier League. Miazga will be joining a talented core of centre-backs, with the likes of John Terry, Gary Cahill, and another young prospect in Kurt Zouma.
Miazga, who is of Polish descent, has represented the Poland U18s once but then decided to become a member of the United States Men’s National Team, representing them at the U18, U20, and U23 level before making his first team debut this past November.
Just as much as Miazga is courted by the Red Bulls and all of Major League Soccer, he is by everyone involved with the USMNT. He has been tipped for a bright future, and while many Americans are saddened by the youngster’s departure from his own domestic league, they are excited at the prospect of an American playing in one of the best football leagues in the world.
For me, I couldn’t be happier. While the New York Red Bulls are my local team, Chelsea always comes first in my heart. To see one of the Red Bull’s talented young stars join Chelsea is unbelievably special to me, even more so because he grew up so close to me.
Expectations will be heavy, but Miazga will now fly the flag for my state, New Jersey, my local club, the New York Red Bulls, and my country, the USA, in the Premier League.
Just 20 years old, Miazga is a big guy who stands at an intimidating 6’4″. Physically, he’s got what it takes to stand a chance in England’s top flight. However, there is likely to be a steep learning curve for the defender, and it may take some time before we see him set foot on the Stamford Bridge pitch.
If he fulfills the high amount of potential many are saying he possesses, could we see a Miazga (20) and Zouma (21) centre-back partnership for Chelsea in the future?