The Philadelphia Union will be without the services of the club's first ever Homegrown Player, Zach Pfeffer, for the entire 2013 season. But there's a good reason for it.
Pfeffer will spend the year with TSG Hoffenheim of Germany's Bundesliga, one of the top soccer leagues in the world.
Officially, Pfeffer's tenure at Hoffenheim will begin January 7, as the Bundesliga takes a winter break during the coldest parts of the season. He'll remain abroad through the summer and return to the Union on December 31, 2013.
"Loaning Zach to Hoffenheim is a win-win situation for all parties involved," Union manager John Hackworth said in a statement released by the team. "While we will miss Zach for the 2013 season, we know that the experience at this stage of his maturation process will be invaluable to both him and the club for the future."
Pfeffer has taken two short trips to Hoffenheim in the past for training purposes. Now he'll become a full-fledged part of the club.
"I think the [Union] is looking out for me and really wants me to develop, so I can be a big part of this team in the future," Pfeffer said in a statement.
"The main thing is I need a place to play games - most importantly, good, competitive games," Pfeffer said. "In [Major League Soccer's] Reserve League, we have 10, and that's really not enough - not even close to enough."
When Pfeffer arrives at Hoffenheim, he won't be the only player with an American accent. Left back Fabian Johnson and midfielder Danny Williams are regulars with the U.S. national team.