Philadelphia Union Academy midfielder Brenden Aaronson is just one of three Academy players who were invited to the First Team's preseason camp this year in Clearwater, Florida.
Through all his hard work, Aaronson was able to put one in the back of the net for the Boys in Blue against New York Red Bulls in their first scrimmage Saturday.
So far, the youngster has enjoyed his time in Clearwater and being with the first team.
“It’s awesome, it’s been a great experience, it’s a dream,” Aaronson said. “Everyone here has been really nice; they’ve really adapted me to the team and I’ve just had a great time just like I thought I would have.”
Throughout preseason camp, Aaronson has looked up to Union midfielders Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin and Anthony Fontana. The midfielder has been grateful to learn from a talented trio.
“I’ve looked up to (Alejandro) Bedoya, (Haris) Medunjanin and (Anthony) Fontana, mostly because they’re my position," Aaronson said. "It’s awesome to look up to them and see how they’ve been doing, and Fontana has been in my shoes so it’s great to look at him too.”
Aaronson had also noted that he’s received great tips from Fontana, who has served as a mentor for him and has had the opportunity to learn from.
“I’ve been talking to him (Fontana) about it, and he really enjoys it here and it’s just awesome to talk to him about these things,” Aaronson said.
While with the Union Academy, Aaronson earned minutes with Bethlehem Steel FC. With a great experience like this, Aaronson feels that the Academy has helped prepare him for these moments.
“The Academy takes trips all the time and it’s really helped me go into this situation like being in hotels and how I should behave," Aaronson said. “The soccer part is really pushing me because I’ve been playing up and up and now it’s the next step, so it’s been really awesome."
Besides some of the players helping the young midfielder adjust, he notes that a new assistant coach for the Union has been key in pushing him to the best of his abilities.
“I like Pat Noonan, he’s a great guy and he’s been helping me along the way with coaching tips and where I should go to get the ball. He’s really hands-on," Aaronson said.
Just like every soccer player, Aaronson strives for playing time and to keep learning from the first team.
“I’m hoping to get playing time of course, it’ll be awesome to get in against these MLS teams, even Tampa Bay it would just be great,” Aaronson said. “To keep playing around these guys, they make me better and these guys are great, so I’m just looking forward to it.”
Aaronson and the rest of the Union will be taking on the University of South Florida tomorrow in their second preseason scrimmage at 7 p.m. The match will not be streamed but will be opened to the public.