From the Liverpool FC youth academy to the Proving Ground of Atlanta United 2, Jack Metcalf has paved a unique soccer career for himself. Before making his move to the United States, Jack spent 8 years at the prestigious academy in Merseyside, before playing in the reserve teams at Wolverhampton Wanderers. But from there he took an uncommon step from the West Midlands: he crossed the Atlantic to play NCAA soccer at Clemson University, something he calls “an unbelievable experience.”
“It was huge in terms of my development as a player and a man as well,” he reminisces. He credits his leadership to those four years with the Tigers, skills that have carried him through stints with the Charlotte Independence and Bangor City in the Welsh Premier League, to the captain’s armband for Atlanta United 2’s inaugural season. It was a surprise, and a moment he remembers well.
“Right before we go to a captains’ meeting, I got handed the arm band which is a special moment for me personally,” he says. “My family was there to see that too, so definitely a proud moment.” In this position, he values the opportunity to guide a prominently younger ATL UTD 2 roster in the beginning of their professional careers with lessons he has learned during his time as a professional.
One of those main lessons he preaches to the younger players in the locker room is the importance of consistency, bringing that professional effort every day. “I think coming with the same attitude every day, you’re going to get better,” he says. “Having that consistency and trying to reach that same standard every day is something that I think a lot of the older guys have tried to instill into the younger players”.
Jack recalls everything he’s learned from veterans he’s lined up with or against during his career, and says it’s that consistency that stands out. He says that applies to the time the team spends training with the Atlanta United first team as well. He tries to learn as much as he can and match the environment when ATL UTD 2 is training themselves or on matchdays. He calls it an invaluable experience for any player at the USL level.
“The main thing for us is whatever we see up there, we try and take it down here and implement it the best we can from what we see up there,” he says.
But after everything he’s experienced, his latest chapter in Atlanta stands out as a special one, and he says it’s down to the people inside the club. “Pulling in to the Training Ground every day is really is a good feeling,” he says. “I’m looking forward every day to coming inm seeing everybody and getting out to training”.
From Atlanta to Liverpool, each player on ATL UTD 2 has their own story to tell, and Metcalf, the team’s first captain, has a unique one to say the least. Make sure you’re there to cheer him and his teammates on for the final stretch of the USL season, starting Wednesday at Coolray Field against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Tickets are still available, so make sure you’ve reserved yours here.