Just days before he became the newest Union homegrown player, Anthony Fontana made his Union debut, playing the final 14 minutes of the match against Swansea City AFC.
"It was amazing," Fontana said. "Playing against a Premier League team, and just going out in front of all of our fans, just an amazing night. The players told me to just go out there and have fun, and that's exactly what I did."
The 17-year-old entered the match in the 76th minute, making his Union debut in front of friends, family and 16,000 fans.
"Playing here at home, playing in front of people you know and seeing faces in the crowd and having everyone look at you, it's just an amazing feeling," Fontana said.
In front of all his friends and family, Fontana made sure to not disappoint. Playing from the midfield, he played both sides of the ball well, getting back on defense and pushing the Union attack. In the 82nd minute, Fontana nearly gave the Union the lead.
Aaron Jones worked the ball up the right side of the pitch and found Fontana with some space to move in toward the box. Jones hit Fontana with the pass, who immediately cut further into the middle of the field and worked the ball to the top of the box. He rifled a shot with his left foot, and the shot screamed toward the net. Fontana's shot went over the net, but forced a gasp from the crowd, as he nearly notched his first professional goal.
"I told Maurice Edu before the game, 'Look, I'm really trying to score,'" Fontana said. "And he said, 'What are you going to do when you score?' 'I'm going to point up at you.' I was like, ok, that's what I need to do. First of all, I just wanted to go out and play well, but getting that goal would have been real nice."
Fontana's appearance marked the third instance where a Union Academy product played for Bethlehem Steel FC and the Union first-team, joining Derrick Jones and Auston Trusty, who also made his Union debut against Swansea.
"At first, I was real nervous," Fontana said. "But then I got dressed up, had the Union gear on, and I was relaxed and calm. I felt like I was doing I've been doing forever. I couldn't have done this without the whole organization. Earnie Stewart, Richie Graham, Tommy Wilson and Jim Curtin, they all played a big part in my development."
Now that he has signed with the Union as a homegrown player, Fontana is looking forward to continuing to improve his game and getting back onto the pitch at Talen Energy Stadium.
"I'm just looking to keep improving every day," Fontana said. "Keep improving areas of my game that aren't as strong as others, keep improving in areas where I am strong. Hopefully I'll break the starting XI in the future and get games with the first team. Lots of good times to come."