Cincinnati FC home goalkeeper Beckham Sunderland has spent his off-season with La Liga side Espanyol’s U-19 side, Cincinnati announced on Tuesday.
The news is surprising in itself, but the offer itself came as a surprise to Sunderland at first. During an off-season visit to Spain to see his brother Lawson, a midfielder for Spanish fourth division club Sant Andreu, Sunderland received an unexpected offer to train with Espanyol’s U-19 side. The 17-year-old immediately said yes and later received permission from Cincinnati to exercise.
“It’s been great so far,” said Sunderland on the Cincinnati FC website. “It was an amazing experience and I’m learning a lot on the field … There are a lot of new techniques in goalkeeping training, techniques that I didn’t necessarily use before, so it was good to experiment with them.”
Although there is no end date set for Sunderland’s stay in Spain, the 17-year-old is expected to return to Cincinnati before the 2021 MLS season. Cincinnati goalkeeping coach Jack Stern believes it will be a good experience for the goalkeeper before he joins his team again in the preseason.
“We want to expose him to as many situations as possible,” said Stern. “With someone so young, we want to help them educate them about the game and shape them as well as possible.”
Sunderland was Cincinnati’s first homegrown contract and was part of last season’s squad but has yet to make his MLS debut.