Gabriel Slonina will have his first chance to earn first-team minutes in Europe this season.
Belgian Pro League side Eupen has acquired Slonina on a season-long loan spell from Chelsea, both clubs announced Thursday. Slonina joined Chelsea last season from the Chicago Fire and mainly featured for the club’s Under-21 side.
“It is a unique opportunity for KAS Eupen to sign a goalkeeper with the talent and class of Gabriel Slonina for one season,” General Director of KAS Eupen Christoph Henkel said. “After all, before his move to Chelsea, some top European clubs were also interested in signing him. We are looking forward to working with Gabriel Slonina and are confident that he will support our team and help us achieve this season’s goals. We warmly welcome Gabriel to the KAS Eupen team.”
The 19-year-old Slonina made eight appearances in the Premier League 2 Division last season. Slonina registered three clean sheets for Chelsea’s U-21 squad.
After coming through the Chicago Fire academy, Slonina made 43 first-team appearances in MLS. He registered 13 clean sheets and conceded 61 goals over that span before making the move to England.
Slonina has featured for several U.S. youth national teams, including the Under-20’s, whom he featured with during the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina. He was also eligible for the Poland national team, but made his senior debut with the USMNT in a 2-1 friendly loss to Serbia in January.
Eupen fought off relegation last season, finishing 15th in the Pro League on 28 points.