RICHMOND, Va., May 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Although he is only 17 years old, FC Richmond's Nick Taitague is playing soccer at the professional level, signing with the Carolina RailHawks of the North American Soccer League last month. The highly sought after midfielder has been with the U.S. National Team program since he was 14 years old participating on the U14, U15, U16, U17 and, now U18 teams prior to joining the NASL-leading RailHawks.
"I'm thrilled to join such a great team and I'm looking forward to learning a lot as I progress as a player," said Taitague, from the RailHawks training academy in Cary, North Carolina.
Taitague's contract with the Carolina RailHawks allows an amateur to join the highest ranks of professional soccer in the US. Under USSF rules, he cannot sign a pro contract until he's 18, which means he'll have to wait almost a year before he can compete and receive compensation at the next level in Europe.
"We've always known that Nick was a special young man, on and off the field," says his longtime coach & FC Richmond founder Dave Amsler.
RailHawks Manager Colin Clarke has played Taitague in 3 straight games, a rare accomplishment, considering no other amateur player has ever played in an NASL match. Clarke is equally impressed with the young player from Midlothian, Virginia.
"He'll be playing at a high level in the future, probably in Europe," says Clarke.
Nick Taitague's path to the highest levels of international soccer is also one-of-a-kind. He stayed with home club FC Richmond long after he was identified by top US Soccer scouts at the age of 13. Bucking the trend of top tier players who see the US Soccer Development Academy as the only way to achieve at a high level, Taitague has chosen to remain with the Midlothian-based program.
Taitague is the latest in a long line of US national team players to come from the FC Richmond program, but the first to play pro soccer as an amateur. He has also trained internationally with several prestigious academies – Manchester United, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona.
About FC Richmond: Founded in 1985, FC Richmond provides competitive and recreational soccer programs devoted to building lifelong skills. Today FC Richmond serves and develops 2,500 young athletes in recreation, player development programs, and travel soccer programs. FC Richmond is Virginia's only club to produce a High School Gatorade Male National Player of the Year. FC Richmond has produced 14 National Team/Pool players, one U.S. Olympic Team player, one HS National Scholar Athlete of the year, and over 20 professional players. In addition FC Richmond has produced over 500 players who have gone on to play at the collegiate level.
For more info, please visit www.FCRichmond.com
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SOURCE FC Richmond