The Best of Both Worlds for U-17 MNT's Josh Sargent
Every so often it happens that a player gets the opportunity to play in front of his home crowd. That’s the case for U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team player Joshua Sargent – except that for him it’s even sweeter – who will soon play with the U-17 National Team in his hometown against his boyhood club.
The U-17’s are set to face the Saint Louis FC U-18 Academy on October 8 in St. Louis. The STLFC U-18 team is made up of top players selected from two U.S. Soccer Development Academy programs: St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri and St. Louis Scott Gallagher Illinois. A product of SLSG Missouri, Sargent began his academy play at the U-14 age group and has come up through the ranks of the club.
“It’s going to be really special for me” said Sargent. “I’m already happy just thinking about it and I know it’s going to be a great atmosphere. I’m excited to see everybody back home.”
When asked about Sargent’s development both on and off the field, SLSG Missouri Technical Director Kevin Kalish said, “Josh demonstrates holistically what we look for in a St. Louis Scott Gallagher player. Not only is he an extraordinary talent, but more importantly, he is a fantastic teammate and person that represents the values of the club. Josh has a very bright future in the game. His work rate and dedication to be a professional player is as good as it gets. We are excited for Josh's return to St. Louis and we are thrilled to welcome him back home at the club”.
Sargent has spent time with both the U-14 and U-15 National Teams, and started the Residency Program with the U.S. U-17’s in Bradenton, Fla. this past January. While being called up for the U-17 MNT is incredibly special to him, he knows he couldn’t have done it without a solid support structure back home.
“It has been great these past few years. Playing in the Development Academy has really improved my game and the coaches know what they’re talking about” says the O’Fallon, Mo. native. “The coaches are great guys. They’ve not only taught me how to be a better soccer player but how to become a better person overall. They’re the type of people that will take care of you, mentor you, and show you what to do and how to do it.”
Sargent also credits the Development Academy with much of his success as a player. He thrives off the faster pace and higher technical level of the Academy, and the competitiveness of the program has been a determining factor in his preparation to perform at a National Team level.
When it comes to his journey and his goals, Sargent admits to big dreams for the future. However, he also understands the opportunity he’s been given and how fortunate he is to have such a platform.
“My advice is to always keep working hard. There’s going to be obstacles in the way but you can’t get down on yourself. You have to keep pushing. You can only go up from here.”