COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — American goalkeeper Zack Steffen transferred to Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids on Thursday after playing in just two Premier League matches over 4 1/2 seasons during his contract with Manchester City.

The 28-year-old from Coatesville, Pennsylvania, who led the University of Maryland to the Big Ten regular-season and conference championships in its first year in the conference, agreed to a three-year contract that includes a team option for 2027.

Steffen had arthroscopic knee surgery last summer to repair longstanding wear and tear and returned to training in late October after a 2 1/2-month layoff, agent Dan Segal said.

“Zack is an elite-level goalkeeper with a wealth of experience internationally and in MLS. His exceptional skills, experience, and proven track record make him a valuable addition to our roster,” Rapids president Pádraig Smith said in a statement. “His character and mentality will greatly benefit our team. We’re thrilled to bolster our backline with his signing and look forward to welcoming him to Colorado.”

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Steffen played in just 21 matches with City, including nine in the FA Cup, seven in the League Cup, two in the Champions League and one in the Community Shield.

He was left off the 2022 U.S. World Cup roster by coach Gregg Berhalter in favor of Matt Turner, Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson.

Steffen played two seasons at Maryland, joined Germany’s Freiburg in December 2014 and never got into a first-team match. He signed with the Columbus Crew of MLS in July 2016, was on loan to third-tier Pittsburgh for the rest of the season and made his Crew debut in 2017.

He was voted MLS goalkeeper of year in 2018 and became the top goalkeeper on the U.S. national team. Steffen agreed that December to join Manchester City during the summer transfer window with a four-year contract. City loaned him that July to Germany’s Fortuna Duesseldorf for the 2019-20 season, but he didn’t play after Dec. 22 because of a knee injury.

Steffen joined City for the 2020-21 season as Ederson’s backup when Claudio Bravo left for Spain’s Real Betis, then made his Champions League debut in the group-stage finale against Marseille and his Premier League debut Jan. 3, 2021, at Chelsea, after Ederson tested positive for the coronavirus. Steffen was in goal that April 25 when City beat Tottenham in the League Cup final.

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Steffen’s only other Premier League match was on Oct. 16, 2021, when Ederson had returned to England a day earlier following Brazil’s World Cup qualifier against Uruguay in Manaus on Oct. 14.

Steffen agreed in November 2021 to a contract extension with City through the 2024-25 season and the following month played in the Champions League group-stage finale at RB Leipzig.

Hoping for playing time ahead of the World Cup, Steffen went on loan to second-division club Middlesbrough for the 2022-23 season but missed four straight games in August and September because of a knee injury.

He did not play in a match for City this season.

Colorado acquired Steffen’s MLS discovery rights from New England for $50,000 in 2024 general allocation money.

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