At the end of a training session during the U-20 MNT’s pre-Concacaf U-20 Championship camp in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., goalkeeper Brady Scott lined up 20 balls at the top of the six-yard box. He asked a teammate to be a target in the midfield circle.
Taking a few steps run-up each time, Brady hit ten with his right foot, and then ten with his left. His teammate barely had to moved to trap each long ball.
“I was first stuck in the net when I was in U-9,” Brady explained. “We had no goalkeeper and everyone was kind of scared of playing goalkeeper, so I stepped up. And I played half the time on the field and half the time in goal until U-13, and that’s when I started specializing as just a goalkeeper. So that was a huge part of me developing my feet, playing on the field half of the time.”
It’s hard to imagion that he’s only been playing goalkeeper full-time for six years, especially when considering how far that move has taken him since.
It didn’t take long for coaches to realize Brady’s potential in net. He was already excelling at goalkeeper while at Development Academy side Marin FC in Northern California, and as he grew so did his hunger to continue improving after switching to De Anza Force Development Academy in Santa Clara.
“De Anza was a very good platform for me to develop,” Scotts said. “I was taken in by coach Shaun Tsakiris, and he really gave me the confidence to play out of the back and be more tactical and be more effective on the field. Playing Academy games every weekend, it was a great platform to develop and become a better soccer player.”
Youth National Team scouts first brought him in to a National Talent ID Center as a U-15, and he’s continued impressing since. And the last year and half has been a whirlwind.
With an offer to play at the University of Virginia, Scott, who had previously trained with youth clubs in England and the Netherlands, was invited to tryout by German Bundesliga club FC Koln in the spring of 2017. He practiced with the reserves for a few days and then played with them in a friendly match. The club saw enough and shortly after made him an offer.
But first, he was called into the U-20 MNT ahead of the 2017 Concacaf U-20 Championship in Costa Rica. While only two goalkeepers made that roster, he had shown coach Tab Ramos enough and was then added as the third goalkeeper for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic.
U-20 MNT GK Brady Scott in warm-ups ahead of the USA's second group game at the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship.
“I was honored to be part of that group,” Brady says of his U-20 World Cup experience, where he backed up Jonathan Klinsmann and JT Marcinkowski. “Participating in a World Cup was amazing, being in all the stadium and seeing what the atmospheres like and how quick – the speed of play is at a World Cup – it was something that I’d never seen before. That was really eye opening.”
Not long after the World Cup he officially joined FC Köln (referred to as FC Cologne in English), becoming the latest American youth international to join a club in Germany.
“My first year at FC Koln has been fantastic,” he said, his team now in the Bundesliga II. “(“I am”) really adjusting to the speed of play and what it’s like to play in Germany. It’s not necessarily that the players are so much more technical, it’s that everyone thinks so much faster and you have to be on your toes.”
While mostly playing games with the reserve team, which plays in the fourth division, Regionalliga, he trains regularly with the club’s first team.
“For me to be in there every single day, training with guys like Jonus Hector and first teamer Timo Horn…it’s been really great for me to not only hear it from a coach, but hear from an actual, starting Bundesliga goalkeeper,” he said. “Doing a drill with him, seeing what he does, and trying to implement that – it’s been a real positive experience and it’s been very positive for my development.”
A year and a half ago he was in school playing in the Development Academy, deciding between UVA or turning pro, and gaining international experience at a World Cup. Now he’s counted on as a leader of the U-20 MNT looking to defend its Concacaf title and qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup.“It’s gone by really fast,” he admits. “I feel like just a couple months ago I was just a high school student playing Academy, but as I sit here now I try to use all of the experiences that I’ve had – everything that I’ve seen, all the trainings and games I’ve played in – and just try to lead by example and help lead this team to winning it all.”