MLS 🔵 Former Bulldog relishing final weeks with CITY2 before college journey – Shango Media

MLS 🔵 Former Bulldog relishing final weeks with CITY2 before college journey

MLS 🔵 Former Bulldog relishing final weeks with CITY2 before college journey

St. Louis CITY2 defender Nolan McGuire holds the ball during a recent game at CITYPARK in St. Louis.

Tony Capobianco ~ [email protected]

St. Louis City’s MLS NEXT Pro affiliate, St. Louis CITY2 (11-3-2), stands on top of the Western Conference with three months to go into the regular season.

However, for former Notre Dame Bulldog Nolan McGuire, the next few matches will be his last, as he is going to collegiate soccer career at DePaul when the Blue Demons begin their preseason in August.

CITY2 play their next two games on the road at Sporting KC 2 (July 21) and North Texas (July 27). In their previous home game, McGuire, 18, was named team captain for the first time in his career, as the squad prevailed 4-3 over LAFC2 at CITYPARK on Saturday, July 6, in St. Louis.

“It was a great honor to be given the captain band,” McGuire said. “If you were to ask me two years ago when I first joined the team that I’d be named captain of this team, I would’ve told you you’re crazy. But I think it’s a great experience and I don’t take it lightly.”

MLS created MLS NEXT Pro three years ago and applied to the United States Soccer Federation to be sanctioned as a Division III professional league, one level below the USL Championship on the pyramid. The league played its first games in 2022 and McGuire began his professional career with CITY2 in 2023.

Despite this being a professional league, plenty of players have moved onto the college ranks from this league and those similar to it before its inception.

“I think it’s it’s pretty split,” McGuire said. “A lot of my teammates have come through this program with me and have gone from the academy to MLS NEXT Pro, and then headed off to college. And I’ve played with a lot of guys that have stayed in the academy and earned a contract that way.”

As a defenseman, McGuire’s contributions don’t show up on the stat sheet. However, he’s been there for the team’s success both last year and this year, all while being among their youngest players.

“I think I brought energy into the team, into the practice and into the games,” McGuire said. “I think as I kept developing, I really grew into my role and I think I brought a lot of energy to the group.”

All McGuire has done is play soccer with older, more mature players. At Notre Dame High School in Cape Girardeau, he was a freshman surrounded by seniors on a team that went all the way to the state championship game.

The summer after, McGuire was selected as a member of the St. Louis City SC’s inaugural youth academy class when he was named to the club’s 17U team. He split between taking classes at Notre Dame and playing in St. Louis, and then later finished his schooling at Kirkwood while playing for CITY2.

With two seasons as a pro under his belt and a diploma on hand, it’s time for McGuire to move onto the next level.

“It’s been a great experience for me to play with the older guys and learn from them,” McGuire said. “They’re teaching me more things than I would have ever imagined, how to see the game better It’s just been a great experience for me and being able to learn from coaches that have been around the country coaching great teams like this. It’s just been really good for my growth and development as a soccer player.”

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