Anderlecht (Eerste Klasse)
#16 | Midfielder
September 9, 1985 (Age: 27)
6' 1", 160 lbs (1.85 m, 73 kg)
Kljestan first gained notoriety as a standout player at Seton Hall. He left after his junior to enter the MLS Draft via the generation Adidas program.
Kljestan spent his entire career in the MLS with Chivas USA from 2006 to 2010. During this time, he was a finalist for MLS Rookie of the Year in 2006 and was named to the 2008 MLS All-Star Team. As early as his second season, he had established himself as one of league's most talented players.
In January 2009, Kljestan went on trial at Celtic but a transfer never materialized. He followed up this disappointment with a lackluster season in MLS.
In June 2010, Chivas USA sold Kljestan to Belgian power Anderlecht for an undisclosed fee. He signed a four year contract with the reigning Jupiler League champions.
Kljestan's first year saw him in and out of the starting lineup as he adjusted to his new team, although he made a respectable 25 appearances. In the early stages of his second season, the midfielder has been been a fixture in the first eleven.
Kljestan has been a member of both the Under-20 and Under-23 National Teams. Kljestan competed at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships with the U-20 team. The midfielder would end up making 16 appearances for the U-20 squad and scored one goal.
In June of 2007, U.S. National Team Coach Bob Bradley called up Kljestan for a friendly match against China in San Jose, CA. The native of Anaheim followed that up with appearances in the 2007 Copa America.
In 2008 Kljestan was part of the 2008 CONCACAF Men's Pre-Olympic Tournament Team which earned a berth for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing China.
Kljestan started all three game for the U.S., squad in Beijing and would end up as the team's leading goal scorer. Kljestan notched a goal in a 2-2 draw against Holland and a 2-1 loss to Nigeria which ended the U.S. run in Beijing.
Kljestan's name became even more recognizable after his impressive hat trick in a January 2009 friendly match versus Sweden. Kljestan became just the second player in U.S. Soccer history to have his first three goals scored come in the form of a hat trick. It was the 11th time overall in U.S. Soccer history that a hat trick was achieved.
Kljestan played a role in the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, but a cold streak in 2009 and the emergence of Stuart Holden and Jose Francisco Torres sunk his chances of going to South Africa. Although he missed out on the final squad, he remains in contention for the national team going forward, particularly if he excels at Anderlecht.