CHRISTOPHER MCCOLLUM - Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Brad Guzan has elected to end his relationship with Aston Villa after his contract ran out at the end of this season and the US international decided not to sign an extension.
The club announced the news on its website on Wednesday.
The former Chivas USA goalkeeper arrived at Aston Villa in 2008 as a backup to Brad Friedel and was never able to climb out of the reserve role, even after Friedel left for Tottenham. Guzan played almost exclusively in Cup games except for a short stretch this season when Shay Given was injured.
Jurgen Klinsmann has stressed during his tenure that his players must earn minutes with their club teams, and Guzan in particular came under fire from the National Team boss. While Villa desired to keep the American, still only 27-years old, Guzan expressed a desire to be a first choice goalkeeper and chose not to accept the contract renewal.
The Illinois native stood out with Hull City in the Championship during a loan spell last year, appearing in 16 games and earning five shutouts. During that span he impressed with a 0.87 goals against average. Those 16 games make up half of the games he appeared in while in England.
As with Aston Villa, Guzan has also been a backup with the National Team since after the 2006 World Cup, appearing in only 19 of the team's 77 games since then, despite being a regular presence in camps. While Tim Howard has dominated the number one position for goalkeeper on the National Team, if Guzan makes the move to become first choice on a team in a top league, he can only help his cause.
Guzan is currently in camp with the National Team in Orlando, Florida, leading up to the series of summer friendlies and World Cup Qualifying games beginning against Scotland on May 26.