Trusty’s ascension reaches U17 World Cup

The first time Penncrest soccer coach Paul Norris saw Auston Trusty play, he instantly recognized the potential.
That first athletic endeavor, mind you, was basketball. But even on a different court of competition as a middle schooler, Trusty’s skillset contained tantalizing aspects. Beyond a frame that would develop to the 6-3 it currently stands and exemplary quickness and strength for his age, Norris was struck by Trusty’s vision, an innate conception of how people and the ball should move at all times.
For as high an opinion as Norris held of Trusty four years ago, the realization of the 17-year-old’s potential has exceeded even Norris’ grandest prognostications.
“I feel like he was definitely going to be successful at soccer, but I didn’t know that it would be this phenomenal,” Norris said last week. “I don’t know if anyone can truly say this is possible to do at this level. I always knew he would play soccer at a high level in college.”
Trusty, who played for Norris as a freshman at Penncrest before joining the Philadelphia Union’s academy teams, isn’t just tabbed for the University of North Carolina next year. The defender embarks this week on the Under-17 World Cup in Chile, where he’s been selected for the United States team.
“It means the world to me,” Trusty said last week from the team’s training base in Chile. “It means that I have a chance to show everybody what I’ve got and help me and my teammates on U.S. Soccer become more known and more popular in the United States and be a role model for kids who want to play soccer, especially in the Philadelphia area.”
Trusty’s introduction to the tournament Saturday was rocky, to say the least. The Media native got a surprise start in the opening group game against Nigeria and acquitted himself fairly well despite the lackluster Americans being on the wrong side of a 2-0 decision. But the occasion was marred by a highly-questionable red card in the late stages.
If there’s anyone equipped to bounce back, it’s Trusty.
Ludicrous as it may sound to so evaluate a 17-year-old, but Trusty is something of a late bloomer. The U-17s are the first age group for which he’s represented his country, even in camps. His coach with the Union Academy U-16 team, Jeff Cook, recalls that he only played sparingly as a 15-year-old, his sophomore academic year. (For comparison, Trusty’s Under-17 teammate Christian Pulisic, a Hershey native, was at age 15 tabbed as the next great hope for American soccer and at age 16 signed with German giants Borussia Dortmund.)
At 16, though, Trusty’s career took off. He became a key cog in the Union’s successful Developmental Academy campaign, even getting some seasoning at the U-18 level. He captained the U-16s at various junctures and provided key goals from central defense.
Much of that ascent is attributable to his superior physicality for his age, but his grasp of the game also informs his rise.
“He’s one of the most coachable players I’ve ever had,” Norris said. “With some players that are that good, you try to coach and teach them something, and they aren’t interested in learning. Auston knows what he has to do and helps other people learn what they need to do.”
“I’ve never gotten the sense that whether he starts or doesn’t, or whether he makes it into camps or not, it never slows his belief that he can progress,” Cook said. “It’s really exciting to work with players like that, that have that belief in themselves that they’re going to improve. … Whenever he goes up to a new level, he adjusts quickly.”
The last year has been a study of adjustment for Trusty, who’s been in residency with the U-17s for several months. Though he didn’t play scholastically, Trusty attended Penncrest the last three years, where Norris said he remained deeply involved with the soccer team whenever his schedule allowed. He’ll finish high school at YSC Academy.
Trusty’s first international callup was in April, and his first trip was slated for May to South Korea, but that was cancelled due to an outbreak of the MERS virus. He got his first international start and goal in an August trip to the Czech Republic and counts trips to France and Mexico on his passport before the Chile journey.
It’s a watershed moment for the Union Academy as well. They’ve had a slew of internationals at various age groups, but gaining inclusion to a major tournament like this is notable.
“We’ve been consistently having players called up at different age groups for games, camps and tournaments,” Cook said. “But when it comes to the World Cup, it’s a fantastic achievement for Auston to be there and it’s what we want to do for kids. It’s a special achievement.”
The task now for former Nether United player Trusty is to continue his steady upward trajectory, in this tournament and up the American soccer ladder.
“It’s exciting because you’re new to it, but I think if you’re mentally strong in your play and how your skill level is and how you put yourself out on the field, I think you can play with anybody,” Trusty said. “I think once you have the skills down to play, it’s mostly a mental game. So when you have that mental part of the game down, you’re good and you’re able to play against some high competition.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply