USMNT goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, who saved an extra-time penalty kick against Mexico to secure the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League title last month, has signed for EFL Championship side Nottingham Forest, the club announced on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old American shot-stopper had been a free agent since the expiration of his contract with Belgian side Club Brugge on June 30. The chance to showcase himself in the CONCACAF Nations League final, and to make the incredible impact he did in that game after starter Zack Steffen suffered a knee injury in the second half, was perhaps perfectly timed for Horvath — quotes from Nottingham Forest’s release:
“It feels great to be here. Nottingham Forest is such a historic club. I really like the stadium and training ground and the people have been fantastic. It’s a new challenge for me. I’m hoping all my experience can help Forest.
“I’ve heard about the fans and the 30,000 crowds and that even when it’s not full, it’s loud. The shirt carries a lot of history and I’m proud to be part of that history.”
Horvath’s place with the USMNT
Even before his heroics against Mexico, Horvath appeared to have cemented his place at the USMNT’s no. 2 goalkeeper behind Steffen. The move to Nottingham Forest is undeniably a step up in terms of competition and the exposure he will receive on a weekly basis. The move to Nottingham Forest, assuming he can earn regular playing time, would help Horvath to secure USMNT call-ups for the foreseeable future.
Horvath’s main competition for games this season will be the incumbent starter, 27-year-old Brice Samba, who started all 46 league games last season. Forest had the 5th-best defensive record in the Championship, with just 45 goals conceded. The four sides that finished with fewer goals conceded all finished in the top-four. However, the Tricky Trees finished 17th as they scored just 37 themselves (2nd-fewest in the league).
Forest has long been chasing promotion back to the Premier League, where they last competed in the 1998-99 season. Prior to relegation in 1999, Forest spent all but two seasons in the top division of English football between 1977 and 1998 (each time they went down, they came back up at the first time of asking). During that period, Forest won the European Cup in back-to-back seasons (1979 and 1980) under legendary manager Brian Clough.
Nottingham Forest is a big club, run incredibly poorly in recent
years decades, thus the expectations hopes and dreams of a revival and return to glory remain high in the East Midlands.