I’ll admit to finding this news surprising: 17 year-old Zach Pfeffer, currently playing with Philadephia, will spend 2013 with TSG Hoffenheim.
Pfeffer’s loan starts Jan. 7 and runs through Dec. 31. He will join Hoffenheim following the Bundesliga winter break, reside and train in Germany during its offseason and play through the end of the year when the 2013-14 Bundesliga season opens Aug. 9. Pfeffer has already left with family to begin looking for housing as he embarks on the next big chapter of his still very young soccer career.
“We looked at it and it was really probably the best spot for me in terms of my overall development as a player at this point in my career where I am, you know with my age and everything included in that,” Pfeffer told philadelphiaunion.com “The main thing is I need a place to play games most importantly good competitive games… in [MLS] reserve league we have 10 and that’s really not enough, not even close to enough.”
The playing time has been scarce for Pfeffer, who despite showing an immense amount of talent and promise; found it hard to crack the starting 11. In his two seasons with the Union, Pfeffer has played in just four regular season league matches and a handful of international friendlies. In addition, Pfeffer has been called to a few U.S. under-18 national team camps and guided the Union academy to Generation adidas Cup title, but Pfeffer and the coaching staff want more.
Pfeffer hasn’t played much with Philadelphia (in part because he’s still finishing high school), so you have to imagine he’ll spend more time in Hoffenheim’s development system (which includes fellow Pennslyvanian Russell Canouse) than playing for the first team (which includes Americans Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson, and the loaned-out Joe Gyau).
UPDATE: As has been pointed out, Philadelphia has a partnership with Hoffenheim that saw Hoffenheim loan midfielder from their reserve team to Union for two months.