Most of Brenden Aaronson’s best buddies in Medford are finishing up their last days of senior year and getting ready for college in the fall. Aaronson is on a different path.
Aaronson started playing this spring with the Philadelphia Union, one of 24 Major League Soccer teams. The 18-year-old midfielder is the youngest homegrown player the Union has signed.
“From the time I was eight years old, I wanted to be a professional soccer player,” says Aaronson.
Growing up, Aaronson also played lacrosse and basketball, but soccer was different. He even loved practice. “There just was nothing like it,” he recalls.
Aaronson’s father, Rusty, who played soccer at Monmouth University, recognized Brenden’s skills early and started Real New Jersey, an all-star club team, to help develop his son’s skills. Aaronson spent a year at Shawnee High School before being selected for the Philadelphia Union Youth Academy, a program for elite players.
“We practice from 8:30 to 10:30, then go to classes until 3:30,” says Aaronson, who finished his coursework at the academy last fall.
Despite his commitment to his sport, Aaronson says he’s still the same Brenden. “My friends will tell you I am the same kid who has played all sports with them since we were little kids.”
Aaronson was recruited by Indiana University, but when the Union offered a contract, he couldn’t refuse.
“When a dream comes true,” he says, “you have to go with it.”