Langley's Union debut completes improbable journey
CHESTER, Pa. — The whole experience was a blur.
A blur he’ll never forget.
"I’m speechless,” Morgan Langley said in a jubilant Union locker room following Saturday’s 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew. “I don’t know what to say. I’m so … Man, I’m speechless.”
Langley took a minute to gather his thoughts and the excitement came gushing out.
“I heard the staff yell, ‘Morgan!’ and I got up to go in,” Langley said. “I never expected to play right away. I was so excited to go in the game. It was a dream come true for me. I was so pumped up. To play in my very first game at PPL Park is an experience I’ll always treasure. I hope it’s just the start.”
The 22-year-old midfielder signed with the Union on Sept. 15 from the club’s USL-Pro affiliate, the Harrisburg City Islanders. Two days later, he was inserted into the lineup in the 80th minute for Roger Torres against the Eastern Conference-leading Crew.
Langley, who hails from Hawaii, graduated from nearby Swarthmore College where he led the school with 14 goals and 14 assists during his senior season, setting a program single-season record with 42 points.
Langley was named Centennial Conference Player of the Year, finishing in the top 10 nationally in assists, assists per game and points per game. Langley also received two All-American honors and was named to the NSCAA All-Region First Team, as well as the ECAC Division III South Region First Team.
Amazingly, he was once cut from his high school soccer team because the coaches were concerned about his size.
“It’s proof that if you keep working hard, anything can happen,” Langley said. “I never got down or frustrated. For college, no one really showed any interest in me except for Swarthmore. It wasn’t like I had a lot of options there, either. I kept working and working and good things have happened. I feel very fortunate to be playing at the professional level.
“I also know how hard I worked to get here. I want to stay because this is an awesome feeling to be playing at this level.”
Before the game began against Columbus, Langley was sitting on the bench and looking around a sold-out stadium.
What an awesome sight.
“I took in the atmosphere, definitely,” Langley said. “I was a little nervous there at the beginning but then I settled down. Once the game started, I was all into it. I focused on the field. To be put in that first game was incredible. I’ll never forget it.”
Neither will his family.
“My dad drove in from Vermont and my brother was here,” Langley said. “To have them with me made this an even more special day. I think they were happier for me than I was for myself if that’s possible. They were just thrilled to watch me play for the Union.”