Philadelphia Union youth prospect Billy McConnell has reflected on the benefits of last week’s Generation adidas Cup win as his fledgling career continues to go from strength to strength under the tutelage of the club’s Academy system.
The U17 defender played a significant role in his team’s eventual tournament triumph, defending staunchly throughout the competition as well as scoring twice at the other end in crucial games.
McConnell registered the only goal of the U17 side’s opening game victory over Chivas USA before adding another in the convincing 5-1 semi-final win over San Jose, and he feels the overall experience will continue to push him forward, both as a player and as an individual.
“The tournament has definitely helped me to become better,” he told philadelphiaunion.com. “Playing with different people makes me learn how to play better and off the field, you’ve got to be professional and respectful so it’s taught me to be a better person too.”
McConnell has continued to show the form which has seen him called-up for Reserve League action during 2012 and he retains high hopes of one day becoming a full-fledged professional at PPL Park as he balances his time with the Academy alongside his Senior Year of High School and plans to attend Indiana University.
“There aren’t too many differences between playing in tournaments like the GA Cup and playing in the Reserve League. The players are a little bigger in the Reserves and maybe a little faster too but all the players were of a similar ability and I’m sure they can definitely play at that level too.
“I’m going to Indiana University soon and will hopefully play as much as possible. After that, my ultimate goal is to become pro – hopefully for the Union!”