NEW YORK — He might be just 15-year-old, but New York City FC certainly thinks Joe Scally can play.
If they didn’t, they would not have signed the NYCFC Academy player to a Homegrown Player contract.
The Lake Grove, N.Y. native became the second Homegrown Player, following in the footsteps of James Sands.
Scally became the second youngest player to sign with a Major League Soccer club, to Freddy Adu, who joined D.C. United in 2003.
“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,” Scally said.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
Joe Scally became NYCFC's 2nd Homegrown Player signing as the second youngest signing in MLS history. Listen to what he has to say about joining the MLS club.
Posted by Michael Lewis on Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Video courtesy of NYCFC
Despite 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. Under-15 and U-17 national teams.
Scally was also a key member of the NYCFC Under-17 team that won the 2017 Generation adidas Cup in Frisco, Texas.
“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,” sporting director Claudio Reyna said.
“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.”
It remains to be seen how much playing time Scally will receive with the first team this season, but head coach Patrick Vieira has liked what he has seen.
“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,” he said.
“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.”