Jul 3, 2014, 10:38 AM EDT
U.S. international goalkeeper Cody Cropper has extended his stay at Premier League side Southampton by signing a new one-year deal.
The Minnesota native has already spent two seasons with Saints but after England’s national team goalkeeping coach Dave Watson joined the staff at St. Mary’s this week, one of his first moves was to tie Cropper down to a new one-year deal.
Cropper, 21, appeared on the bench for Saints on various occasions last season as he became the clubs number three ‘keeper at a very young age. He was also called up to the full U.S. squad on two separate occasions for friendlies against Bosnia and Ukraine and trained with the U.S. national team in their pre-World Cup camp in California.
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Speaking to Southampton’s website, the USA’s ‘keeper at the 2013 U-20 World Cup was delighted with the new deal and is aiming to kick on this season with Saints under new manager Ronald Koeman.
“It feels great. I think it’s a great opportunity for me as a player to come in and work hard under the new staff and hopefully earn another contract,” Cropper said. “The environment you’re put in is one of a kind. Everybody has been saying that the new building here is five-star and it only looks to be getting better. I found Dave Watson to be very good. He has a style that I’ve been used to in the past. Hopefully under Dave Watson I can progress. I feel that it’s imperative that I keep progressing. I think that with him (Watson) being with England and doing jobs that he’s done in the past I think I can progress into whatever I want to become.”
Cropper will likely be an understudy to Polish international Artur Boruc at St. Mary’s once again this season, but being at a club which has always given youth a chance means Cropper will be pushed into the starting lineup as soon as he’s ready. This season is a big year for the U.S. youth international and it may do him the world of good to go out on loan in England’s lower leagues to gain more experience in a first team environment.
Looking ahead, Cropper will have his sights set on being the USA’s number one for the Olympic team as Jurgen Klinsmann sends a U-21 squad to compete for the chance to play in Rio in 2016.
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