|Joe Scally with NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira. @NYCFC.|
New York City Football Club announced that Joe Scally has signed his first professional contract with the Club. The 15-year old becomes their second-ever Homegrown Player, following James Sands in graduating from NYCFC Academy to the first-team.
Scally, who joined the first-team on their preseason training camps in Jacksonville, LA and Mexico, will finish out the remainder of the school year before commencing full-time training with the seniors in the summer.
Scally told NYCFC.com, “It’s a dream come true for me, I’ve wanted to be a professional soccer player ever since I was a little kid and to get to do it right here at home in New York, at this Club, makes it extra special.
“It was an easy decision, there are so many great professional coaches and players here who can help me improve every aspect of my game.
“Preseason was a really good time where I learned so much about how to be a professional player, on and off the field, and of course the game is so much quicker, so you have to learn fast.
“The Academy coaches always pushed me by playing me above my age group against better, older, more physical players and that really helped me when I came to train with the first-team for the first time.
“Now I just have to keep working hard, so that I can play at Yankee Stadium for the first time.”
Despite only turning 15 on New Year’s Eve, Scally has played three years above his age group with the Academy and has been an important part of the U.S. U-15 and U-17 national teams.
Joe was also a key member of the NYCFC U-17 team which lifted the Club’s first piece of silverware at last spring’s Generation adidas Cup in Frisco, Texas.
In signing with NYCFC, Scally becomes the fifth player from his 2002-year age group to earn a Homegrown Player contract in MLS, following George Bello (Atlanta United), Gianluca Busio (Sporting KC), Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy) and Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes).
NYCFC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna believes that Joe is ready to step up and train full-time with senior players and feels that the examples set by Sands and Scally will inspire more Academy players to graduate from the youth system to the first-team.
Reyna said in a statement, “Joe has been one of the top performers in the Academy for the past few seasons and represented US Soccer at U-15 and U-17 level.”
“He has all of the attributes we look for in a right-back: he’s strong in defense and can support in attack to help create chances from wide areas.”
For Reyna, a key to Joe’s development has been the symbiosis between NYCFC’s first-team and Academy.
Claudio explained: “The synergy between the first-team and the Academy is very important and you can see it when a player makes the jump up to train.
“In most cases, the transition is smooth because it’s not starting from scratch again. The players in our system are also inspired knowing that James and Joe have signed and they want to be the next one.
“This is another really proud moment for our Academy.”
NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira said, “Joe is a really young prospect in our football club, he has really good pace, he’s good at going forward and his quality will fit really well with the way we want to play.
“I know that he’s really young but I think signing his first professional contract is really good for the Club and for him - he deserves it, he’s got the talent.
“He’s spent time with the first-team and I like his engine going forward and I like his strong personality which is really impressive for someone so young.
“When you look at our football club in the last four years and the players that are being developed in the Academy, it’s a credit to the coaches who identified the right talents and worked well with them to prepare them for moments like this.”
Scally will join his NYCFC U-17 teammates in Texas this weekend where NYCFC will take on Real Madrid, Atletico Paranaense and Sporting KC in the Generation adidas Cup Champions Division.
The games vs. Real Madrid and Atletico Paranaense will be streamed live on NYCFC.com