It seems there was more to Auston Trusty’s late-season disappearance from the Union’s lineup than was first thought.
In a conversation with reporters at the Union’s practice facility Tuesday, Trusty said “some stuff happened in the last fourth of the season. I can’t really get into it right now, but at some point in the future, you guys will find out the truth.”
There was a lot of anger in the 21-year-old Media native’s voice, and a hint of it being something off the field. He stuck to not giving details, and the Union didn’t either. But this was clearly about more than his struggles in July, when after playing 20 league games he was on the field for two 4-0 losses in a three-game span. He didn’t play for the rest of the year after that.
“The first three-fourths of the season was good, developing, everything like that,” he said. “I think the last fourth of this season, I developed my personal self more, I think — learning more about how soccer goes, the business of soccer and just how everything goes within the soccer realm. I was naive, and I didn’t really know much about it. But I think I’ve learned, and become a better person and a bigger player, a smarter player.”
The “business of soccer” line was certainly a hint.
This year was the last guaranteed one in Trusty’s contract. He now is up for a team-held option year. It would be shocking if the Union don’t take it, because Trusty could be in for a huge year in 2020 — not just with the club, but with the U.S. under-23 national team.
He would likely make the Americans’ roster for next March’s Olympic qualifying tournament, and if he plays well in the first half of the year, he’d be a candidate to go to Tokyo. That would put him on a big stage for foreign suitors. If the Union decline his option, they’d have to sign him to a new deal or lose the ability to sell him abroad.
Trusty has made no secret of wanting to go abroad some day, and Union manager Jim Curtin has made no secret of wanting to see Trusty reach that level. But that hasn’t made the last few months any easier.
“If you’re not starting, you kind of see your real friends, and you kind of see the real people who had your back and everything like that,” Trusty said. "I’m sure everyone’s been through it in their career, but when you’re not playing, you’re kind of pushed out of the team, kind of X’ed out of the team. For me, all of a sudden, it was kind of a lonely point.”
He believes he’ll bounce back next year, though, and he’s far from alone in that regard.
“Not playing anymore, it shouldn’t sit with anybody right,” Trusty said. “As soon as I get an opportunity, you’ll see the fire in my stomach.”