BLAINE, Minn. (FOX 9) - Fred Emmings isn’t old enough to drive by himself yet, but he can say he’s a professional soccer player.
The 15-year old St. Paul native, a sophomore at Central High School, was at a soccer academy showcase in Florida last month when he got a phone call that would change his life. Minnesota United was on the other end while Emmings, his family and agent sat at a restaurant. The Loons wanted to sign him to a contract.
“It’s still kind of settling in, I can’t really believe it. It’s something I’ve been dreaming of since I ever started playing soccer. It’s just a dream come true and such a great place to start my career,” Emmings said after the Loons' second practice of the season Tuesday. “Great staff, great people. They make it a pleasure to work alongside them and come in every day and put the work in. I really wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else.”
Emmings was in the building Monday as the Loons showed up for the first day of workouts. The day mostly consisted of fitness testing. Emmings was just trying to get his bearings, surrounded by professional athletes.
He’s the first homegrown talent to sign with Minnesota United as his first team. He’s 15 years old, turning 16 next month, plays goal keeper and is listed at 6-5 and 210 pounds.
“He’s a big boy, my God. I wish I was that big at his age. I wish I was that big at my age now. We’re excited for him, obviously. It’s a great, momentous day for him yesterday, 15 years of age, being the home grown guy,” coach Adrian Heath said. “He was here with all his family.”
His exact role with the Loons is up in the air. He’s currently on Minnesota United’s U-17 Development Academy roster. He came to Minnesota United as an attacker, but his size made him better equipped to prevent goals from happening rather than try to score them, so he made the switch to keeper. He also plays club soccer in Madison, affiliated with the Loons, and will head to Luxembourg and Slovenia to play matches in March.
His mother’s side of the family is from Luxembourg, so Emmings has dual citizenship.
Emmings is still wrapping his head around the fact that he’s signed with an MLS team, a dream he says he’s had since he started playing soccer. He’s also still having to balance school, which now will have to be done online. He’s happy to accept the new challenge.
“I’m just kind of taking it day by day, one homework assignment at a time, trying to get them in on time while also getting to training. But it’s all good, as hard as it is I’m not complaining. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing,” Emmings said.
Two years ago, Emmings was invited by U.S. Soccer to the U-15 national team training camp in Florida. Now, he’s working with Loon’s goal keeper coach Stewart Kerr and current keeper Tyler Miller.
“It’s been unreal working with Stew and all the guys. It’s gone so fast and I’ve gotten so much better. It’s great and I hope to continue that and keep getting better,” Emmings said.