Liam May thought he was going to The Proving Grounds in Conshohocken last week for a meeting to talk about an upcoming ID camp he’s attending.
But instead he was the man of the hour as some of the youngest teams in the club gathered to celebrate his achievement: being named last season’s MLS Next U16 Golden Ball winner.
“It feels so good but I was also so surprised,” May said. “I was wondering why there were so many people here and then I saw my family walking in; I was just so confused but this is amazing.”
May was one of the standouts of FC Delco’s MLS Next U16 team in 2020-2021, which made it all the way to the MLS Next Cup semifinals in Frisco, Texas earlier this summer. They came up short of playing for a championship in a penalty shootout against Tampa Bay United.
May was quick to deflect attention from himself onto his teammates, talking about his individual achievement.
“There are so many other guys on my team that could also get this award,” May said. “It’s just a testament to how good this team is but also to the club and everything we’ve been able to accomplish.”
Club president Brian Courtney presented May with the plaque and shared with the group of young players gathered about the hard work on and off the pitch May has done not only to develop his soccer talent but also his leadership skills and character.
“We’re just super proud of everything Liam has accomplished on and off the field,” Courtney said. “And having all the young kids there to celebrate — he’s a role model and that’s how it should be where the older players start paying it forward to the younger players. It was just a special night for the club. There’s a bright future ahead for Liam and FC Delco, that’s for sure.”