From Nether United to the Philadelphia Union in five years. Auston Trusty (seated, second from right) grew from a winger at his local club to become one of America's most promising center-backs.
In his still very young career, Auston Trusty has already reached great heights. He signed a homegrown contract with the Philadelphia Union in 2016 and participated with the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team at the 2017 U20 World Cup. Trusty capped that performance with a rocket of a left-footed strike against New Zealand that helped the Americans reach the quarterfinals.
As a starting center-back with the Union in 2018--he made his MLS debut in the opening match and hasn't left the lineup since--Trusty has anchored a defense that has produced three shutouts in 10 games, displaying poise beyond his years and the ability clean up mistakes. At 19 (he'll turn 20 in August), Trusty has solidified his reputation as one of the most promising defenders in MLS and, potentially, for the U.S. States Men's National Team.
With all that success, his youth career still holds a special place in his heart. And no memory stands out more than the 2013 Under-16 Boys Eastern Pennsylvania State Cup championship.
In that game, Trusty, a Media native, and his Nether United team upset the four-time defending state champions Lehigh Valley United, 2-1.
"I won't ever forget that," said Trusty. "That's what we set out to do. For us to do that, and (being) that young, it was just pretty amazing."
What makes it more remarkable, beyond LVU's stellar record, is that Trusty was two years younger than most of his opponents. And yet he left an impact, scoring a goal from his left wing position--yes, left wing--for Coach John Waraksa's team.
Trusty was just one of several players who emerged from the Delaware County-based club to play soccer at the next level: The Bradley twins (Conor and Shane) and Campbell brothers (Will and Robert) all play Division I soccer. The group remains close to this day with friendships forged in that special victory five years ago.
"I was texting (Robert Campbell) this morning," said Trusty. "And I was hanging out with the Bradley brothers last week. We all stay in touch. Other guys, I see them every now and then. (The state cup) brought us together, you know?"
Nether United won its group at the 2013 US Youth Soccer Region I Championship, before falling in the semifinals. It was a tremendous run that left an indelible impact on its participants, especially considering it was the group's last hurrah of sorts.
"We always wanted to go really far," said Trusty, who joined the Union Academy following the 2013 season," so that was kind of a good way to go out."
Now, standing 6-foot-3 with a manicured beard, Trusty smiles wide as he reflects on his time competing for state cup glory.
"It's kind of glamorized for a kid and club soccer," he said. "'I want to win a state title.' You know how in basketball, and high school sports, you want to win a state championship? It's like that. You fight all year to get to the spot. State cups come around, now you want to be on your game. Basically, what I'm trying to say is it's pretty amazing just to grow with a team and complete a task.
"They're memories I'll never forget."
Auston Trusty isn't the only standout Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer alum to reflect fondly on his state cup title. Three others recently shared their thoughts with us.
"State cup was always the biggest game of the year. I went on to win two (US Youth Soccer) National Championships, but the state cup was always the one that had the most to do with pride. Something about the state final made it the most difficult of the season--if you won it, it was the beginning of something great, and if you lost, the year ended too quickly. I’m so thankful for all of the success our FC Delco teams had in the state cup--some of my best soccer memories, period." - Jeff Larentowicz (FC Delco) Atlanta United
"Soccer has been a huge part of my life, and for seven years my club team, YMS Xplosion coached by John Greeves, had the opportunity to participate in the Eastern Pennsylvania State Cup. I remember the championships and how amazing it felt to compete in big games with my team and my coach, the camaraderie we shared and the joy we felt when we won. It meant so much to be able to play, and I am really thankful for the tournament and the memories my teammates and I, as well my coach, shared and will always cherish." - Murphy Agnew (YMS), 2017 Ivy League Rookie of the Year at Harvard University
"(My favorite youth soccer memory) was probably winning state cups with West Chester United, with all of my best friends back in the day." - Zack Steffen (West Chester United, FC Delco), Columbus Crew SC & the U.S. Men's National Team