U.S. MNT goalkeeper Brad Guzan will remain in the English Premier League this season after securing a move from Aston Villa to newly promoted Middlesbrough FC on Friday.
Here are five things to know about Guzan’s new English club:
Formed in 1876 by members of the Middlesbrough Amateur Cricket Club who were looking to stay fit during the winter, Middlesbrough FC is one of the oldest active clubs in the English Football League.
After some acrimony, some members of the club split to form the competing Middlesbrough Ironopolis and both organizations went professional in 1889. An application to reunite the clubs three years later was rejected by the Football League, and after Middlesbrough found more success by winning the FA Amateur Cup in 1895 and 1898, Middlesbrough returned to professional status in 1899 where they’ve played between different divisions of English football ever since.
To the northeast he goes…
Brad Guzan can expect a slightly colder climate as Middlesbrough is located in North Yorkshire in the northeast of England. Part of a three-club cluster in the region, Middlesbrough sits just south of Sunderland and Newcastle on the south bank of the River Tees.
After a number of different locations in the club’s early years, Middlesbrough called Ayersome Park home beginning in 1903. The ground hosted matches during the 1966 FIFA World Cup, but following the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989 and the ensuing Taylor Report, many clubs in England were forced to upgrade their stadiums or move to new ones.
‘Boro elected to build a new ground and moved into the Riverside Stadium in 1995. The all-seater stadium has a capacity of 33,746 and has been a regular site for the England U-21 side.
Middlesbrough has been home to a number of successful English and Scottish players. Having played 15 seasons for the club in the 1920s and 1930s, Englishman George Camswell is Boro’s all-time leading goal scorer with 345 goals in 453 appearances.
Brian Clough, who surprisingly led Nottingham Forest to back-to-back European Cups in 1979 and 1980, is Boro’s third all-time leading scorer with 204 goals in 222 appearances, while well-known Scottish manager Graeme Souness got his start with the northeast club before a legendary career at Liverpool.
More recently, Brazilian maestro Juninho Paulista pulled the strings in the Boro midfield, even making the championship-winning Brazil squad at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Former England defender Gareth Southgate ended his career with the club in 2006, while prolific strikers Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Mark Viduka enjoyed spells at Riverside.
Guzan will be the first U.S. international to play for Boro.
Movin’ on up with Aitor Karanka
After spending 11 seasons in the Premier League, Middlesbrough was relegated to the English Championship in 2009. The club’s attempt to return to the English topflight came up short in the following years, leading to former Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka’s appointment as Boro manager in 2009. The first non-British manager in club history, the Spaniard brought the club close to promotion in 2015, but fell 2-0 to Norwich City in the Championship Promotion Final.
This past season, Middlesbrough ran rampant in the Championship and earned the league’s second automatic promotion spot on the final day. Tied with third-place Brighton & Hove Albion on 88 points, Boro held on for a 1-1 home draw to return to the English Premier League.
Brad Guzan enters an interesting goalkeeping landscape at Middlesbrough. The MNT backstop is the second goalkeeper signed by the club this offseason, along with long-time FC Barcelona and Manchester United netminder Victor Valdes.
Dimitrios Konstantopoulos, who has been the team’s starter for much of the past few seasons, remains in the fold, while former Real Madrid product Tomás Mejías rounds out the goalkeeping corps.
Boro goalkeeper coach Leo Percovich will be familiar with Guzan. The former Uruguay international spent a number of seasons as an assistant in Major League Soccer, working with the Colorado Rapids, Chivas USA, Toronto FC and Chicago Fire before joining Karanka and Middlesbrough towards the end of 2013.