Brady Scott, 18, Settles in Well with Bundesliga Squad
August 22, 2017
FOR NEARLY 30 YEARS American goalkeeping has centered on four players: Tony Meola, Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel, and Tim Howard have established a great reputation at the position with others like Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando, and Marcus Hahnemann also making positive contributions.
The 2018 World Cup will likely be Howard’s last big tournament and the next generation of American goalkeepers will have to carry the torch. The next generation has potential: Ethan Horvath is off to a strong start with Club Brugge and Zach Steffen has the earned the starting job with Columbus Crew SC.
Brady Scott, 18, is perhaps the most impressive teenage American goalkeeper at the moment. He was a backup goalkeeper at the 2017 U-20 World Cup despite being the second youngest player on the team. With the new cycle set to begin later in the year, he is widely expected to be the team’s No. 1 option.
At the club level, Scott made his most important achievement just last month. After developing with Bay Area club De Anza Force SC, Scott signed his first professional contract with FC Köln in July, and he should be in contention to start for either its U-19 or U-21 team. Due to injuries, however, Scott has been training withFC Köln's first team and even made the bench for its German Cup opener on August 12.
“My first preseason has been great,” Scott told American Soccer Now from Germany. “I started out with the U-21s and because of injuries I have been with the first team for the past three weeks. My integration with the team has gone well, all of the guys on both the U-21s and first team have been very welcoming.
"The quality of play of the U-21 is very good compared to the teams I have been a part of in the past. The speed is faster and the game is more physical because I am playing with older, more physical players. With regard to the quality of the first team, it is for sure the highest level I have ever trained or played at. Every shot that I get is challenging and I am always under pressure—which is really good for my development.”
Before heading to Germany, Scott was facing a critical decision as to when and where to start his career. He had an option to attend the University of Virginia, which has a top soccer program. But in the end he decided to accept an offer from abroad. It was the second straight year UVA lost its top recruit to a Bundesliga club after Weston McKennie opted for Schalke in 2016.
Scott sought the advice of Tony Meola, who was an All-American at UVA before going on to be the starting goalkeeper for the U.S national team at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups. Meola had the chance to work with Scott while serving as the assistant coach for the U.S. U-18 team.
“I think he has all the tools,” Meola said. “He's got great hands. His feet have improved. He's got command of the box and he's a good shot stopper. He's still going to grow. He's not fully grown yet. He's got a hunger every day to be the best player on the field. He's a really, really humble and good kid. I talked to him quite a bit because he and I had one-on-one meetings because he was struggling over going to UVA or go to Europe. He made the decision to go to Europe and I think for him, knowing his personality and his upside, it was a good decision. Now he's got to get some games. He's got to play.
“One bit of advice I gave him was to fully understand your position wherever you are,” Meola added. “Whether it was UVA, Europe, or in MLS, fully understand what their expectations are of you playing. For the national team stuff, he needs to be in top form to be the U-20 team goalkeeper, as everyone is expecting. But he's going into a situation where if he's not playing, then he won't be as sharp as he needs to be. But knowing him, he's done all his research and he's really smart. He gets it. He's going to be a great pro.”
The Petaluma, Calif., native has been integrating well to life in Germany. He has family friends in Köln and has made new friends so homesickness has not been a problem so far. A top priority for him over the next year is to learn German to help him settle into the country.
This fall he is expected to be part of the U.S U-18 team when it travels to Spain for a tournament. That group, along with the U-17 side after its World Cup, will then make up the core of the next U-20 team. Scott is one of three players—along with Josh Sargent and Tyler Adams—who was on the 2017 U-20 World Cup team and will be eligible for the 2019 U-20 team.
Despite being one of the youngest players on that squad, Scott's teammates liked what they saw.
“Brady was one of the youngest guys there but he didn't seem out of place at all,” U.S. U-20 central defender Justen Glad said. “As far as goalkeeping goes, he's super talented and has amazing feet. For me, I noticed that his right and left feet were almost the exact same—which is super impressive. He got along with all the guys on and off the field really well and I sure he's going to be an amazing leader for the next U-20 cycle.”
Even with his focus completely on FC Köln right now, Scott is looking forward to getting back into the fold with U.S. program again and build off the U-20 World Cup where the team advanced to the quarterfinals.
“It was a great experience going to the World Cup and I have a better sense of what the big stage feels like,” Scott said. “So I think that will help me be prepared for more important games with a lot of pressure in the future. My expectations for the next World Cup is that we will qualify and do well in the tournament. We have a lot of talent in the 1999 age group as well as the 2000 age group. I will do my best to be a part of the team and hopefully earn the No. 1 position.”