Before Jack McGlynn graduated from YSC Academy on June 4, he had done something that most traditional high school students had done. Played in a Major League Soccer contest, having done so five weeks earlier.
The 17-year-old midfielder made his debut at the end of the Union’s 2-1 loss to Inter Miami CF at Subaru Park on April 24. Since then he’s earned 138 MLS minutes, starting two matches and also receiving time off the bench in the Union’s 4-0 CONCACAF Champions League victory over Deportivo Saprissa on April 14. All this before he even turns 18 on July 7.
“It was a special feeling, getting on the field for the first time in front of our fans,” McGlynn said. “I was there with my family and it was just a great day for me.”
As one of the youngest first-team players, McGlynn receives lots of advice from the veterans on the team. He said that midfielder Jamiro Monteiro and goalkeeper Joe Bendik are the most helpful, as Monteiro helps him with what to do on the ball and Bendik reads the game well. He tries to watch Monteiro and midfielder and captain Alejandro Bedoya to pick up on what has made them so successful.
“They’re always giving advice during training,” McGlynn said. “Outside of training, they really help a lot.”
Off the pitch, McGlynn spends a lot of time with fellow homegrown Nathan Harriel. The two live in the same building, just a couple of doors apart, so the duo carpool together since McGlynn does not have his driver’s license.
“I give him gas money sometimes,” McGlynn said. “He’s great having around because he’s my boy. Having him there when I moved in helped a lot.”
The one wrinkle in their friendship is the generational divide in music taste: the 17-year-old McGlynn prefers new hip-hop music while the 20-year-old Harriel prefers older rap.
McGlynn trusts longtime friend Paxten Aaronson’s music taste the most on the team because they listen to the same music, while McGlynn said that defender Stuart Findlay’s music taste—which is heavy on pop and electronic music—is “terrible.”
Aaronson and McGlynn were called into a United States National Team U14 training camp together, which is when McGlynn first realized he was on the right track to becoming a professional player. The camp saw the two train with the best players in their age group and compare their development with the progress of players at other clubs.
The camps in California also let the two take their FIFA rivalry on the road.
Without any hesitation, McGlynn claims to be the best FIFA player on the Union, saying that he can beat anyone with any team. Although he is a Liverpool fan and looks up to Steven Gerrard, he tends to use Real Madrid but changes it up when he has to take it easy on defender Matt Real.
“He’s down the totem pole,” McGlynn said of Real’s FIFA-playing abilities. “I’d say that Paxten is second.”
The new YSC Academy graduate said that Real talks a big game compared to his skills with the controller, but Real did win 10-0 against midfielder Brandan Craig. McGlynn also said that Real has the worst style on the team, while naming defender Aurelien Collin the best-dressed player.
Regarding his time studying at YSC Academy while playing with the academy, Union 2, and now the first team, McGlynn said the flexibility of the faculty helped him balance his schoolwork and his soccer responsibilities. He also enjoyed learning around people who, like him, want to become high-level soccer players.