Matthew Real Named To USL’ 20 Under 20
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (October 8, 2018) – When defender Matt Real was promoted to the Philadelphia Union in January, it was the next natural step for the left back. The 18-year-old was coming off an impressive professional debut season with Steel FC, where he appeared in 18 contests and earned over 1,600 minutes.
“I think Matt certainly training with the first team on a regular basis and the experience of playing in MLS games has helped,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said of Real. “Matt has matured quite a bit in terms of his study of the game over the last two years and that’s helping him in each of his performances. He is a little more cognizant of what his opponents are good at and what they might not be. I’ve been impressed with his preparation both physical and mental and that’s why he has shown so well in games.”
Despite some rocky moments that come with youth, this season has seen even more improvement by the Drexel Hill, Pa., native in 2018. 17 matches with Steel FC so far but it could have been many more if not for an injury suffered on the road at Nashville in late August. Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke knew early on that the 2018 campaign would be a special one for Real.
“Early in the season when he got from preseason with the first team, there was a new confidence,” Burke said. “After he got through that spell of playing in a few MLS games and spot starting, it took him a few weeks to settle back in with us and accept that role of needing one more year of growth with us. Once he embraced that, he’s been really excellent for us.”
For his impact and growth this season, Real is more than deserving to be selected to the USL’ 20 under 20. At just 19, Real has plenty of time to develop and challenge not only for the MLS stage but the international stage as well.
“Hopefully the U-20 World Cup, which is a major event and I know that Matt is one of the top left backs in the pool so I hope that in the end, they choose him, he deserves it in my opinion,” Burke said. “The good thing with Matt is that we don’t have to be in a rush and he doesn’t have to be in a rush either. He’s shown signs of growth every couple weeks and every couple months and as long as that continues, I don’t think there is a limit to how much he can grow in this organization.”