MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Four academy players round out the 16 man squad for Memphis 901 FC.
“If it were easy, everybody would be out here doing it,” said head coach Ben Pirrman.
However, playing professional soccer for the USL before graduating high school is not easy, making Tycho Collins, Simeon Betapudi, Matt Brucker, and Max Talley special.
“You know, it’s tough. They're 16 and 17 years old. We’re playing against 30, 32, 28-year-old season veterans," said Pirrman.
Pirrman said even though they are young, the academy players play a huge role.
“They’ve been not only good for training and helping us get better and better each week, but I hope that they can impact the first team coming up as well,” said Pirrman.
A goal Houston High state champion Max Talley has already accomplished.
“Max Talley has really come along and played really well. He’s been integrated fully into the first team. He’s a special little player,” Pirrman explained.
So far, only two of the academy additions have played in game-time action.
But Pirrman said that doesn’t speak to their importance on the team.
“They push to make guys sharper, make guys earn their spots, keep their spots, or take their spots,” Pirrman said.
He added, the older professional players also push them, helping to prepare them for their professional careers.