Sacha Kljestan

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Sacha Kljestan
Sacha Kljestan'14.JPG
Kljestan in 2014.
Personal information
Full name Sacha Bryan Kljestan
Date of birth (1985-09-09) September 9, 1985 (age 31)
Place of birth Huntington Beach, California, United States
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
New York Red Bulls
Number 16
College career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2005 Seton Hall Pirates
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2006 Orange County Blue Star 2 (1)
2006–2010 Chivas USA 114 (15)
2010–2015 Anderlecht 132 (18)
2015– New York Red Bulls 65 (14)
National team
2004–2005 United States U20 16 (1)
2007–2008 United States U23 16 (3)
2007– United States 51 (6)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 00:03, October 1, 2016 (UTC).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of November 17, 2016

Sacha Kljestan (/ˈsɑːʃə ˈklɛsən/;[1] born September 9, 1985) is an American soccer player who currently plays as a midfielder for the New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer and the United States men's national soccer team.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Kljestan played for the Region IV Olympic Development Program team. He then played three years of college soccer at Seton Hall University. He was named NCAA Division I First-Team All-America in 2004 and earned third team honors in 2005. Kljestan was named Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2005 and earned first-team All-Big East in 2004 and 2005. He holds the single-season assists record at Seton Hall with 15 in 2005 and ranks fifth all-time at the school with 28 over a three-year career. Kljestan finished his college career with 20 goals and helped Seton Hall University to three NCAA Tournament appearances. He then signed a Generation adidas contract with MLS, and played USL Premier Development League soccer for Orange County Blue Star in 2005. Kljestan was taken fifth overall at the 2006 MLS SuperDraft.

Chivas USA[edit]

Kljestan playing for Chivas USA in 2010

Kljestan was a finalist for 2006 MLS Rookie of the Year as he appeared in 32 league matches for Chivas and recorded seven assists. He improved his performance in his second year as he recorded four goals and provided 13 assist in 25 matches, helping Chivas to a first-place finish in the Western Conference. He was nominated for the Starting XI in the 2008 MLS All-Star Game, but chose instead to play for the U.S. Olympic Team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His performance for club and country drew attention from many clubs overseas, and he left the U.S. team's winter training camp in mid-January 2009 to go on trial beginning January 17 at Celtic,[2] the Scottish Premier League reigning champions. After the trial he returned to Chivas and continued his fine form as he made 25 league appearances during the 2009 season and scored 5 goals and provided three assists. He began the 2010 season with Chivas before being transferred to top Belgian side Anderlecht. In his time with Chivas, Klejstan finished with fifteen goals and 33 assists in 114 league matches.

Kljestan against Zenit.


In June 2010, he signed a four-year contract with 2009–10 Belgian Pro League champions Anderlecht.[3] He made his competitive debut and scored his first goal in the same game on July 27, 2010 in a 3–1 win over Welsh club The New Saints in the third qualifying round of the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League.[4] In his first season in Belgium he appeared in 34 matches across all competitions scoring 3 goals and helped Anderlecht capture the 2010 Belgian Super Cup. While at Anderlecht, Kljestan was converted from his traditional number 10 role to a holding midfielder; where he partnered with Argentine Lucas Biglia. Together the two formed a strong partnership which lead Kljestan to his first ever title, winning the Belgian Pro League in 2012. He quickly became a fan favorite as supporters began to call him "Mr. USA" and bring US flags to the stadium to show praise for the team's only American player.[5] The following three seasons he remained a key player as Anderlecht captured three consecutive Belgian Pro League and Belgian Super Cup titles.

In March 2013, Kljestan signed a new three-year contract with Anderlecht.[6] In a Champions League group stage match against Paris Saint-Germain, Kljestan and Zlatan Ibrahimović traded insults, when Ibrahimović made fun of Kljestan's mustache. In response, Kljestan made fun of Ibrahaimović's large nose. Kljestan was ultimately sent off in the later stages of the match.[7] In the final game of the group against Olympiacos; Kljestan became only the fifth American to score in a Champions League match.[8]

During the 2013–14 campaign Kljestan scored a career-high 9 goals as he appeared in 30 matches. Although he had one of his best statistical seasons, he slowly lost his regular spot in the lineup and became a bench player during the final weeks of the season.[9] Kljestan was honored with a pre-match ceremony in his final match with the club on February 1, 2015 against Zulte Waregem. The supporters held up United States flags and banners thanking him for his years with the club.[10] He made a total of 180 appearances for the club, scoring 25 goals, before leaving the club in the winter of 2015.

New York Red Bulls[edit]

In January 2015, it was announced that Anderlecht had agreed to transfer Kljestan to New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer.[11] He made his debut for New York on March 8, 2015 appearing as a starter in a 1-1 draw at Sporting Kansas City.[12] On April 17, 2015, he scored his first goal for New York in a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.[13] On July 1, 2015, he helped the Red Bulls advance in the U.S. Open Cup, scoring one goal and assisting on another in a 4-1 victory over local rival New York Cosmos.[14] On August 1, 2015 he scored the opening goal for New York on a penalty kick and assisted on another helping New York to a 3-1 away victory over Philadelphia Union.[15] On October 7, 2015, he scored on another pk to help the Red Bulls to a 2-1 victory over Montreal Impact.[16] On October 25, 2015, he scored the eventual game-winning goal for New York in 2-1 victory over Chicago Fire, helping Red Bulls clinch the 2015 MLS Supporters' Shield.[17] His 14 league assists tied a club record with Thierry Henry and Eduardo Hurtado for the most assists in an MLS season.[18]

On March 19, 2016, Kljestan scored his first goal of the season in helping New York to a 4-3 victory over Houston Dynamo.[19] On April 29, 2016, Kljestan helped New York to a 4-0 victory against FC Dallas scoring one goal and assisting on another.[20] During the third Hudson River Derby match of the season; Kljestan converted a penalty and provided two assists en route to a 4-1 victory.[21] On August 3, Kljestan scored the third goal in a 3-0 victory against Antigua GFC in the Red Bulls' first 2016–17 CONCACAF Champions League group stage match.[22] Kljestan recorded his 15th league assist in a 2-2 draw against D.C. United on August 21; breaking Thierry Henry's record of 14 from the 2014 season.[23] With his 20th assist in the regular season finale, Kljestan joined Carlos Valderrama as the only two players to reach the 20 assist mark in a single MLS season.[24]

International career[edit]

Kljestan playing for the United States in 2013


Kljestan was part of the United States Under-20 team at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship. He had entered the U-20 program in 2004, earning a total of 16 caps, scoring 1 goal with the team up to 2005.[25] In early 2007, he was called into training camp with the senior U.S. national team, but did not earn a cap in the following games.


He also played for the US Under-23s at the 2008 CONCACAF Men's Pre-Olympic Tournament and scored in a 3–0 win against Canada to send the US Under-23s through to the Olympics. Kljestan was selected to Peter Nowak's roster for the U-23 Olympics in Beijing. He started all three games and finished the tournament as the United States' highest goal scorer with 2, an equalizer against the Netherlands in the 2–2 draw, which was voted goal Best U.S. Men's Soccer goal of 2008, and a penalty against Nigeria in the 2–1 loss that knocked them out of the tournament.

Men's team[edit]

Kljestan made his debut for the senior national team on June 2, 2007, tallying an assist on Benny Feilhaber's winning goal, a 4–1 friendly match victory over China in San Jose, California and also played for the US in Copa América 2007. He started consistently for the United States under Bob Bradley as a central midfielder and had two assists (three total) in World Cup Qualifying. In a 3–2 victory over Sweden on January 24, 2009, Kljestan scored a hat trick, his first three goals with the senior team. The only other American to notch a hat trick in the same game as his first international goal was Aldo "Buff" Donelli who scored four goals on May 24, 1934. It was also the 11th hat trick in national team history. On February 24, 2010, Kljestan scored a 92nd-minute goal that won the USA a friendly against El Salvador. He proceeded to celebrate what was his 4th national team goal in emotional fashion. The goal, along with his performance, was enough to keep him in contention for a World Cup spot.[26]

Although he made the preliminary 30-man squad he was not picked for the final 23-man roster for the 2010 World Cup, but featured in a friendly against Brazil on the next international fixture date. He did not make the team for the 2014 World Cup.

In August 2016, Kljestan received his first call-up in two years for the United States' 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.[27] On September 2, Kljestan appeared as a second half subsitite and provided one goal and two assists in a 6–0 victory over St. Vincent and the Grenadines.[28] In the following match on September 6, Kljestan scored his second goal of the qualifiers against Trinidad and Tobago helping the United States win their group and qualify for the Hex.[29]

Personal life[edit]

His brother Gordon once played an Open Cup match for the New York Red Bulls and also played for FC Tampa Bay Rowdies in USSF Division 2. Kljestan's father Slavko Klještan, a Bosnian Serb from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, was a professional player playing for Željezničar Sarajevo.[30]

Kljestan, along with Frank Lampard and Cuauhtémoc Blanco, was featured on the North American cover of FIFA 10.

Kljestan married longtime girlfriend Jamie Lee Darley in June 2012.

Career statistics[edit]


As of October 1, 2016
Club Season League [31] Domestic Cup [32] League Cup [33] Continental [34] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Chivas USA 2006 32 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 35 0
2007 25 4 1 0 2 0 0 0 28 4
2008 22 5 1 0 2 1 2 0 27 6
2009 25 5 0 0 2 0 0 0 27 5
2010 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 1
Total 114 15 3 0 8 1 2 0 127 16
Anderlecht 2010–11 25 2 2 0 1 0 6 1 34 3
2011–12 36 4 0 0 0 0 10 1 46 5
2012–13 35 3 4 0 1 0 9 1 49 4
2013–14 23 8 1 0 1 0 5 1 30 9
2014–15 13 1 4 3 0 0 4 0 21 4
Total 132 18 11 3 3 0 34 4 180 25
New York Red Bulls 2015 33 8 3 1 4 0 0 0 40 9
2016 32 6 2 1 2 0 3 2 39 9
Total 65 14 5 2 6 0 3 2 79 18
Career total 311 47 19 5 17 1 39 6 386 59


As of October 7, 2016.
National team Year Apps Goals
United States
2007 4 0
2008 8 0
2009 9 3
2010 4 1
2011 9 0
2012 4 0
2013 7 0
2014 1 0
2015 0 0
2016 5 2
Total 51 6

International goals[edit]

 #  Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 January 24, 2009 United States Home Depot Center, Carson, California  Sweden 1–0 3–2 Friendly
2 2–0
3 3–1
4 February 24, 2010 United States Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida  El Salvador 2–1 2–1
5 September 2, 2016 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Arnos Vale Stadium, St. Vincent  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 5–0 6–0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
6 September 6, 2016 United States EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida  Trinidad and Tobago 1–0 4–0
  • Goals scored by Kljestan are marked as bold in the "Score" column.



Belgium R.S.C. Anderlecht

United States New York Red Bulls



  1. ^ Sacha Kljestan - Team USA
  2. ^ Jones, Grahame L (January 15, 2009). "Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan to train with Celtic". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 20, 2009. 
  3. ^ "US international Kljestan transfers to RSCA". R.S.C. Anderlecht. June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on July 15, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2010. 
  4. ^ "The New Saints 1-3 Anderlecht". BBC Sport. July 27, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Breakout Season For Sacha Klejstan". 
  6. ^ Kljestan signs a new 3 year deal with Anderlecht
  7. ^ "Zlatan told me I have a terrible moustache, says Anderlecht player". 
  8. ^ "Sacha Kljestan becomes latest American to score in UEFA Champions League". 
  9. ^ "Sacha Kljestan's Anderlecht finishes off three-peat, captures Belgian league title". 
  10. ^ "Sacha Klejstan gets a legend's farewell from Anderlecht". 
  11. ^ "Red Bulls sign US international Kljestan". Retrieved January 28, 2015. 
  12. ^ "RBNY earn hard-fought point on the road vs. Sporting Kansas City". Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  13. ^ "MATCH RECAP: New York Red Bulls 2, San Jose Earthquakes 0". Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  14. ^ "New York Red Bulls 4, New York Cosmos 1". New York Red Bulls. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Philadelphia Union 1, New York Red Bulls 3". Retrieved August 1, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Red Bulls beat Montreal Impact to close on MLS East title". Retrieved October 7, 2015. 
  17. ^ "New York Red Bulls Claim Supporters' Shield With 2-1 Win At Chicago". October 26, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Sacha Kljestan ties New York Red Bulls' record for single-season league assists". Retrieved October 26, 2015. 
  19. ^ "MATCH RECAP: New York Red Bulls 4, Houston Dynamo 3". March 19, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2016. 
  20. ^ "New York Red Bulls 4, FC Dallas 0: 2016 MLS Match Recap". Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  21. ^ "New York Red Bulls 4, New York City FC 1: 2016 MLS Match Recap". Retrieved July 24, 2016. 
  22. ^ "NY Red Bulls 3, Antigua 0". 
  23. ^ "Sacha Kljestan (maybe) breaks New York Red Bulls' all-time, single-season league assists record (probably)". 
  24. ^ "Reversal: Kljestan awarded extra assist, reaches 20 on season". 
  25. ^ U-20 MNT stats
  26. ^ Sacha Kljestan Hat Trick Provides U.S. Men With 3-2 Victory Against Sweden to Open 2009
  27. ^ "Klinsmann calls Red Bulls' Sacha Kljestan into US national team camp". 
  28. ^ "St Vincent & the Grenadines 0, US 6, 2018 World Cup Qualifying Match Recap". 
  29. ^ "Jozy Altidore brace as United States beats Trinidad and Tobago". 
  30. ^ Jones, Grahame L. (August 6, 2008). "Chivas USA's Sacha Kljestan looks beyond Olympics". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 12, 2008. [dead link]
  31. ^ Includes Major League Soccer and Belgian Pro League
  32. ^ Includes Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and Belgian Cup
  33. ^ Includes MLS Cup Playoffs and Belgian Super Cup
  34. ^ Includes CONCACAF Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and UEFA Champions League

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jesse Marsch
Chivas USA captain
Served alongside: Jonathan Bornstein
Succeeded by
Simon Elliott