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Miazga eyes rise for club and country, wants to be 'the best American player'

Matt Miazga will play a key role for the U.S. in its upcoming Olympic qualifying matches against Colombia.
Matt Miazga will play a key role for the U.S. in its upcoming Olympic qualifying matches against Colombia.

MIAMI -- The biggest adjustment Matt Miazga has had to make since leaving MLS for mighty Chelsea in January has not been on the field. It's been on the road.

"The first two weeks I was there I wasn't driving -- someone would come pick me up," the 20-year-old American, who arrived in South Florida on Sunday ahead of the U.S. U-23 team's home-and-away Olympic playoff against Colombia, told Insider on Monday in a wide-ranging interview. "Now, I have a car. Knock on wood, but nothing bad has happened. even though in London the roads are tight."

As for the soccer, or "football" as Miazga now calls it -- "The one thing I can't say is soccer. If I say soccer I'll get destroyed in the changing room" -- that part actually seems more familiar than the local terminology or right-hand drive automobiles, despite the globally renowned company he now keeps as a member of the defending Premier League champs.

To call Miazga's rise meteoric doesn't do it justice. ...