Sam Brotherton believes Sunderland is the perfect place for him to develop his game, as he settles into life on Wearside.
The 20-year-old defender arrived at the Academy of Light in February after switching the USA for the North East of England.
Originally from New Zealand, Brotherton - who has been capped six times by his country - joined Sunderland’s Under-23 set-up from the Wisconsin Badgers of the University of Wisconsin in the Big Ten Conference.
Brotherton, who played in the Under-23 defeat to Manchester United on Monday, is looking to make his mark at Sunderland and is hoping his form for the Black Cats can secure him a place at the 2017 Confederations Cup with New Zealand.
“It is early days, but I enjoy being in a city where everyone is so welcoming, they’re crazy about football and love the football club,” said Brotherton.
“I also enjoy being able to focus on playing football and becoming a better player every day.
“I believe that Sunderland is a great place for me to develop as a player and begin my professional career.
“I want to settle into life in Sunderland, and become a regular contributor for the U23 side by the end of the season.
“I want to represent New Zealand at the 2017 Confederations Cup, work hard every single day, and see where it takes me,” added Brotherton, ahead of the Under-23s’ next test this weekend.
Sunderland Under-23s host Leicester City at the Stadium of Light on Sunday (KO Noon) as they aim to bounce back quickly from the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United.
Elliott Dickman’s side were outclassed by last season’s Premier League 2 champions at Hetton earlier this week.
Sunderland are 6th in Premier League 2 with 21 points, four points clear of basement side Foxes who head to the North East on Sunday.
Entry to the game is free for SAFC season card holders, upon production of their valid 2016-17 season card, whilst non-season card holders pay £3 for adults and £1 for over 65s and under 16s on entry.
Turnstiles 1-8 in the west stand will be open from 11am.