A recent development in Major League Soccer, Sacha Kljestan has emerged from the US youth ranks as one of the most exciting American ball players since Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley. After a stellar collegiate career, Kljestan made his professional debut for West Coast new boys Chivas USA in 2006.
He immediately made an impact and turned up on the radar screens of the powers that be in the US national team set-up. After a dismal first season in 2005, Chivas found an ace in young Kljestan, and his creativity on the ball and eye for goal helped put them into the post-season play-offs in the next three seasons. So far, in 105 first-team appearances for the LA outfit, Kljestan has scored 14 goals and set up countless more and was a finalist for MLS ‘rookie of the year,' the award given annually to the league's best new player.
Kljestan began playing in a USA jersey at youth level, lining up for the Americans at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in the Netherlands in 2005. He earned his first senior cap under current coach Bob Bradley (who was also his coach at Chivas in 2006) in 2007 in a friendly 4-1 win over China. He travelled to Beijing with the US side to take part in the 2008 Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing, where he started every game for Petr Nowak's team, scoring two goals. After acquitting himself well in the Far East for the U-23s young Sacha has become a regular member of the US national team in qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, scoring his first hat-trick in a friendly against Sweden last year and lining up for the USA in their fairytale run to the FIFA Confederations Cup final.