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Sacha Kljestan Highlights

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Sacha Kljestan's Apartment Tour

Sacha Kljestan

  • DOB September 9, 1985
  • Age 29
  • Place of birth Huntington Beach, California
  • POSITION Midfielder
  • HEIGHT 6'1"
  • WEIGHT 170
  • U.S. CAPS 46
  • CLUB Anderlecht
  • TWITTER @sachakljestan (184K followers)
  • Current ASN 100 Rank 31
  • Previous ASN 100 Rank 31
  • Youth Experience U-20, U-23

Sacha Kljestan is perhaps the biggest enigma in the U.S. national team player pool. He can be brilliant on the ball and is one of the most creative attacking players in the mix, but he is frequently overlooked when rosters are picked. Adam Spangler captured it well in his epic 2010 story about the midfielder: "Elite clubs by the age of 12. Regional Olympic Development Program by 14, then not even considered for the California state Under-15 team. Cut from the U-17 state team, only to star on the same team a few weeks later. Slow to garner attention with colleges and the national team program. One of only three league freshmen to earn Big East all-conference honors. Starter for the U-20s at the 2004 Milk Cup; benchwarmer for the 2005 U-20 World Cup. Finalist for 2006 MLS Rookie of the Year. Poster boy for the 2008 U-23 Olympic team. Winner of U.S. Soccer’s Goal of the Year, Young Male Athlete of the Year, MLS All-Star, and Best XI."

The rollercoaster ride continues to this day. Kljestan missed out on the 2010 World Cup roster and then jumped from Chivas USA to Belgium's Anderlecht, where he became a star in 2012. “It’s probably been my best season,” Kljestan told The New York Times in May 2012. “I’ve grown a lot this year in many ways. I’ve become more all-round and I think I do a lot of things now that help the team. I also think I’ve become a good leader both on the field and in the locker room.”

But until recently, he struggled to break into Jurgen Klinsmann's lineup. "It’s pretty frustrating," Kljestan also said in May. “I don’t want to brag about myself and I don’t think I’m the best player on the U.S. team by any level, but on my best day and certainly after a really good season, I kind of think I’ve merited a spot on the national team. I’ve accepted it and I have to keep doing better to keep breaking myself into the team." Kljestan knows how good he is. And Klinsmann is starting to see as well. Kljestan featured in the last three matches of 2012 for the U.S. Whether that was a quick blip or indicative of a more permanent position remains to be seen.—NOAH DAVIS

Noteworthy Reads

We'll See About Sacha (This Is American Soccer)
Breakout Season for Sacha Kljestan (NYTimes.com)
AmericanSoccerNow.