Frankie Amaya Adapts to the Major League Soccer Life

“I’m just a kid from Santa Ana.”

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Giovanni Bello and Melvin Leon

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2019 continues to be a surprising year for Santa Ana’s own Frankie Amaya. The Football Club Cincinnati youngster, 18, is facing a year with tough competition, yet is still performing well.

Amaya, the #1 overall pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, is a graduate from Segerstrom High School and a former UCLA Bruin freshman. He sparked interest in various clubs around the country but came in contact with FC Cincinnati through a U.S. national team fixture in the CONCACAF tournament. FC Cincinnati drafted the 18-year-old as their inaugural season started early March  2019.

Amaya spent countless hours in training, hoping to get minutes on the field and prove his worth. He received the go-ahead in March against Philadelphia Union, marking his debut in Major League Soccer. “My debut was an amazing feeling. It felt like all the hard work that I put in every day on and off the field paid off. It was a good moment for me and my family,” said Amaya.

He is grateful for the opportunities he receives and shows “how the coaches believe in such a young guy and are willing to give him a chance to showcase what he has,” adds the 18-year-old. Amaya is gaining confidence with every minute he gets that allows him to “go out and do what I love to do.”

 

Frankie Amaya and FC Cincinnati taking a team photo before playing against San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, May 4, 2019.

 

In mid-April, FC Cincinnati confirmed the #1 overall pick would go on a short-term, one month, loan to Orange County Soccer Club, a club in the United Soccer League Championship.  After playing 83 minutes in two games with Orange County Soccer Club, Amaya was called back to the Cincinnati side. He was immediately placed in the starting XI for the upcoming game versus San José Earthquakes on May 4, making it his first ever career start in the MLS.

Although Amaya’s side was defeated 1-0, he has not been shaken by his personal expectations of playing with the pros. Amaya added, “The professional environment feels different than I expected. The amount of running you have to do is crazy. The most difficult thing is trying to win together as a team.”

Amaya’s career reveals the high potential in its early stages of development. “I’m trying to have a 10+ year career and score and play as many minutes as possible,” said Amaya.

 

(Left) Frankie Amaya hugs his teammates Allan Cruz (center) and Kendall Waston (top) after Cruz scores against Montreal Impact on Saturday, May 11, 2019.

 

Coming off a 2-1 victory against Montreal Impact, FCC’s next game against Orlando City is important to gain points in the standing and momentum as the season continues.

With the ultimate goal of playing in the World Cup, Amaya hopes to get his chance soon. In the meantime, he enjoys being part of Cincinnati’s team and continues to improve one game at a time.