Press Conference

Notes from Brendan Burke’s weekly conference call

Bethlehem Steel head coach Brendan Burke had his conference call with reporters on Wednesday. Below are some notes from the call.

Burke said the approach to the upcoming stretch of five consecutive road games, which begins on Friday against Charlotte Independence, should be to take it “week by week.” The Steel will play several good teams, some currently lying in the playoff portion of the table. The younger squad members on the team will get good experience learning the right way to approach the challenges of travel, as well as the challenges inherent in playing well when away. Many of the upcoming travel times are longer than the road trips taken so far. Burke mentioned that his team had performed well in three of its road games — Montreal, Rochester and Orlando — all of which he felt should have been wins, so another teaching focus will be closing out wins.

Burke said two Union loanees will make the trip to Charlotte, Taylor Washington and Cole Missimo.

Defender Mark McKenzie was back in training today, although not fully. Burke said McKenzie was without concussion symptoms following the injury scare in Sunday’s loss to NYRB II. Burke hopes McKenzie will be part of the travel party to Friday’s game in Charlotte.

Five on the current squad are youngsters, Auston Trusty, Matt Real, Raheem Taylor-Parkes, and Mark McKenzie. Additionally, Derrick Jones is less than a year removed from the Union Academy. Trusty, Taylor-Parkes, and Jones are travelling and, as mentioned above, Burke was hopeful McKenzie also would travel. Matt Real may or may not be with the team in Charlotte as he returned only on Wednesday from being away with the U-18 men’s national team for the camp in Mexico that included friendlies against Chivas de Guadalajara, Universidad de Guadalajara, and Club Atlas.

Burke said he hopes to bring in a few other players from the Union Academy, mentioning Justin McMaster.

On the goalkeeping front, Burke said Andrew Verdi would travel with the team to Charlotte to back up Samir Badr. Last weekend, with Verdi’s graduation disrupting his training schedule, CJ dos Santos was the back up Sunday, his first time dressing for a professional game.

Burke said the eighteen year-old graduated seniors who have been with the team will leave for their university programs in early August as that is when the NCAA allows them to arrive, unless they have been enrolled in summer school.

3 Comments

  1. Taylor-Parkes was active when I saw him come on as a sub their last game. Reminded me a bit of Ayuk.

  2. Burke said the eighteen year-old graduated seniors who have been with the team will leave for their university programs in early August as that is when the NCAA allows them to arrive, unless they have been enrolled in summer school.
    .
    SH.R.UG.
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    The YSC Academy graduated 13 students this year and ONE…1…ONE! —- is going on to a ‘professional’ career. ONE!
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    So how do you explain to a kid who wants to be a professional that this can help them achieve those goals?
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    What’s in it for the backers of the High School?
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    I don’t get it. Is it me?
    .
    .
    BTW- I really appreciate the excellent coverage and this is not directed at the author.

    • Theres not much to get besides the fact that it’s super early and we need to and can get better. Better facilities, coaching, training, competitive opportunity. Everyone knows nothing about this set up is anywhere near to being the final product.

      I also am interested in what that professional career is. A lower league US team? Somewhere in Europe? The infrastructure to support these “Not good enough for the first team, but good enough for someone” players is not here yet.

      Everywhere else you have such am amazingly realized pyramid that the majority of youth academy “failures” (harsh to call the failures but you know what I mean) have dozens upon dozens of teams to pick from and fall down to.

      You don’t really have that here. You have NASL, USL, and then what? You’re already getting into the semi-pro ranks.

      And to top it off, I would be willing to bet a lot of those NASL and USL teams still have a very MLS attitude when it comes to splashing the cash (cough COSMOS cough) on foreign retirees instead of scoping up young local talent and playing them.

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