Derrick Jones has been on the Union 28-man roster for a full month now. Auston Trusty for three weeks. We caught up with the recent homegrown signings about how their lives have changed since joining the first team.
“Since I've been with the Steel after getting back from IMG Academy, their schedule has helped me adjust to what it's like to be a full-on professional athlete,” Trusty said.
“Yeah I feel like I’m getting better every day at training, because I’ve really seen some changes in myself since I started playing with them,” added Jones.
Union manager Jim Curtin said that “they’re both close to cracking the matchday 18. That’s the goal for them right now, to make it into the 18 first, and then to get some minutes. They’ve been progressing and doing everything we ask of them. The big difference is mental, they have to think a bit faster at this level than they did before. Athletically, they can both keep up.”
While not in the first team 18, both get regular starts with Steel FC, reinforcing the organization’s mentality of “We Are One.” When asked if there were any challenges that come with training with one team and playing in games for another, Jones and Trusty saw it the same way.
“It’s a good challenge for me. It’s better for me to play games with Steel FC than just train and not play in a game, so I feel like it helps me get better every day,” Jones said.
Trusty followed saying, “I've built great relationships with all the Steel players on and off the field. So when playing with them, they take me back as one of them and the chemistry is there.”
“I’ve noticed huge improvements for both; Jonesy especially as he’s been with them a bit longer. He’s been a lot more assertive and more physical. Overall it’s been great for both,” Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said.
What is it like for a recently-turned eighteen year old to join a professional sports team?
“My teammates have welcomed me with open arms since I've signed. They've made me feel welcomed right from the beginning. I've known a lot of the guys for a good amount of time, since I've been with the Academy, so I've built pretty good relationships so far,” Trusty said.