As Major League Soccer enters the halfway point the Philadelphia Union find themselves at the top of the table in the Eastern Conference. The Union’s fantastic to start to the season is thanks in large part to their lockdown defense led by defender Auston Trusty. Trusty, a product of the Union Development Academy, has flourished in his second season as a starter working with the rest of the Union backline and goalkeeper Andre Blake to concede just 20 goals.
Ahead of the June break Sean Maslin spoke with Trusty about the Union’s strong start, his development as a defender over the past two years and making the move from Academy standout to full-time starter on the senior team.
Sean Maslin: What are your thoughts so far on the Union’s season?
Auston Trusty: It has been great. We are right where we want to be in terms of the Eastern Conference. We know have a tough road ahead but so far I think we have had the right mindset and we just have to continue to play the same way.
SM: It seems like your backline has really gelled in 2019. How has your team’s defensive work improved from last season to this year?
AT: I think last year was just a stepping stone for us in terms of building our connection as a group. Each year our connection and chemistry has just gotten better. So I think last year was just a stepping stone in terms of development and this year we are taking advantage of it.
SM: What changes have you noticed in your self in your second full year as a starter for Philadelphia?
AT: I think for it has been all about getting more experience. Last year I was really the new guy in the field and this year I have a little more experience which has helped me in the game.
SM: Your head coach Jim Curtin probably does not get as much credit around the league as he deserves. How has he helped you develop as a player and as a person?
AT: He and the rest of the Union staff in so many ways because they have known since I was a really young guy. They have helped not just since I became a professional but through my entire soccer career from the Academy up. But they have definitely helped as a soccer player, both on and off of the field.
SM: Yesterday U.S. Soccer announced the Development Academy playoffs and the Union will be a having few representatives in the next round. Is it still surreal to think that a few years ago that you were in a similar to many of those players working your way through the Union’s youth system?
AT: Yeah it is amazing when you think about it. But that’s the mindset of the entire division, from the Academy to the first team. So it is great that my situation shows that the possibilities if you continue towards your goals. So it is really cool.
SM: Looking back on it now did having that familiarity with the Union system help you adapt to the pro game?
AT: Absolutely and I think it has helped all of the Homegrowns. It helped us tremendously. I think there’s always a shock when you make the jump to the professional ranks, I don’t think there is as much as of shock because you have prepared for it. The Union have created an environment where players can make the step up and be ready.
SM: Players now have more opportunities to choose between playing soccer in college, domestically, or internationally. Based off of your experience if you could give a younger player one piece of advice when making their decision what would it be?
AT: I would say go for it. You only live once and if you have the ability to make it and further your soccer career then do it. Whether you want to pursue academics or athletics or however you want it. If you choose athletics you can definitely do both. For me, while I am playing I am also going to school at Southern New Hampshire University on the side. So just keep working and keep pursuing your goals.
SM: What does the Union need to do to keep this positive run of form going?
AT: We just have to keep the same mindset that we have had. Plain and simple. We have a lot of games left in the season but I think if we just need to keep the same mindset.