The Soccer Desk

One for the Future: Steve Neumann

SNeumannUSOC.R1

Perhaps one of the biggest names going into the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, Steve Neumann has a bright future ahead of him.  After Reading United (a Philadelphia Union USL PDL affiliate) picked up their upset victory over the Harrisburg City Islanders last Tuesday, The Soccer Desk was able to catch up with Neumann, who as captain, helped lead his team to victory.

Having grown up in the area as a New Hope, PA native, I asked Neumann how it felt getting to play for Reading, and picking up such a monumental win, “I heard a lot about Reading, the program growing up and just the success they’ve had in the past, and the amount of pros they have moving on from Reading into the MLS, and such so it’s definitely an honor to play for Reading, the academy of Reading, and lead Reading to the third round of the Open Cup for the first time it’s a real honor for me.”

“I know the guys worked really hard out there tonight so we have a couple of days off now to recover and then we’re back at it this weekend for the league.”

It’s a different story now though for Neumann and United, who head to Harrison, NJ tomorrow evening to take on the New York Red Bulls, who currently sit in first place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference.  While this may look like a David vs. Goliath story for Reading, the US Open Cup third round has always proven to be a bit of a shocker.  On top of that, Reading is undefeated in the PDL, and have yet to allow a goal.

“Yeah, I mean obviously it will be a test for us,” Neumann said about his team’s confidence going into the match, “they have a lot of high quality players to say the least, but we’re going to go in there and give it our best shot cause that’s all we know how to do.  Brendan [coach Burke] will have us well prepared so we’ll see how it goes.”

When speaking of Coach Burke, Neumann only had praise for the United boss, “It’s great.  I’ve played under him for the last three summers.  He holds a professional environment whether it’s training sessions, games, meals, whatever it is, it’s been a pleasure playing under him.  He always has us well prepared for each game.  The Reading management is top class in the PDL.  I keep coming back so it’s a greats team, it’s a great league to play in the summer with all the college kids coming back to play so I’ve really enjoyed it.”

There is no doubt that Neumann, who is still a Junior at Georgetown University, has a huge career ahead of him.  The young midfielder is projected to be a top three draft pick come the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, and is also expected to be offered a Generation Adidas contract come December.  It’s also widely accepted that the Union traded Gabriel Farfan to Chivas USA to have an actual chance of picking up Neumann in the draft.

When I asked Neumann about his desire to play for Philadelphia, or if he had his sights set on Europe, he had this to say: “I’ve had season tickets for the Union for the past couple of years, so I’ve been there watching, been around them, training with them this summer some; I’d definitely love to play for the Union after the next college season.  I look up to those guys a lot, so we’ll see how the next year goes and then I’ll give it a shot.”

Neumann at Georgetown

Neumann at Georgetown

Neumann is a Junior at Georgetown and has had a storied career playing for the Hoyas.  On top of helping take his team to the NCAA National Championship match (they would lose 1-0 to the Hoosiers), Neumann was named the 2011 MVP by his peers and was also named a First Team All-BIG EAST selection.

“It was a crazy run,” Neumann says of making it to the championship match, “It was almost surreal looking back on it.  Obviously we were disappointed not winning the final, but looking back on the year, it was quite a run; the guys gave it their all every game and it’s just one of those matchup experiences that I’ll never forget.”

You can see Steve Neumann and Reading United tomorrow night, when they take on the New York Red Bulls in Harrison, NJ.  Tickets are still available, and this match is likely to be a good one.  One thing is for sure; get used to seeing Steve Neumann, he’s going to be around for a while.  Stay tuned to The Soccer Desk for all your US Open Cup news.

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