NEW YORK — Joe Scally was 10 years old when the New York City FC franchise was christened. He was barely 12 when City played its first match as a franchise in Orlando, Fla. in 2015.
On Wednesday night, at 15 years, 157 days old, Scally became the youngest player to debut for NYCFC in an otherwise dreadful evening for the team.
NYCFC dropped a 4-0 decision in the fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup to their arch rivals, the New York Red Bulls – a road match that proved to be a special day for the freshman at Sachem North High School in New York.
Scally, who took a Social Studies final before making his way to Red Bull Arena, was summoned by NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira to replace David Villa in the 57th minute.
“When I got instructions from Patrick and then David – they’re two of the best players to ever play — it really relieved all my nerves, and everything they told me to do I did,” Scally said. “Once I made my first pass and connected it, I really got comfortable after that.”
Scally had a passing accuracy of 100 percent on six deliveries in his unveiling.
“Joe is the future of our football club,” Vieira said. “He’s a really strong personality, he’s got talent. We have to work well with him in the next couple of years because I believe he’s got the potential to be the right back of this football club in the future.”
Scally signed the second Homegrown contract in club history March 21, following the path of his 17-year old teammate James Sands, who inked a Homegrown deal in July 2017. Both Scally and Sands are products of the NYCFC Academy.
“He’s always given us encouragement,” Scally said of Sands. “He gave me advice – don’t worry about any pressure just play and have fun.”
Sands entered the U.S. Open Cup match in the 76th minute – his second appearance as a professional.
Scally will return to the NYCFC Academy U19’s for a national competition in two weeks. Eventually, he will join Sands and train full-time with the first team.
“That will be pretty cool,” Scally said.
Meanwhile, the memory of his professional debut will always have the taint of defeat.
“The result is always going to matter – you always want to win,” Scally said. Being my debut was awesome, but of course a win would have been much better too.”