NEW YORK – There’s no question that Wednesday night’s 1-0 road triumph over New York City FC was an all-around team effort from the New England Revolution, but it was an especially big night for several Revs individuals.
New England homegrown and rookie Isaac Angking is one of those players who had a monumental night as the team handed NYCFC their first home loss of the season, with the 18-year-old making his professional debut as a 72nd-minute substitute.
“I didn’t really expect it,” Angking said about receiving the news that he was going into the game at a critical time, with the Revs leading 1-0 with 18 minutes to play. “It was one of the best nights of my life.”
The Providence, R.I., native has had an unexpected journey since signing with the Revs in January, as he battled through a non-soccer-related medical emergency that unfortunately led him to be sidelined from preseason through June.
“He’s had a rough go of things from preseason with getting sick and then coming back into full training, and then we had to sort of build his body up, break it back down and now he’s strong, so that’s good,” said head coach Brad Friedel. “Hopefully we can start seeing more and more minutes from him.”
Because of Angking’s dedicated work ethic and perseverance to get stronger after his injury, the obstacle was only a blip on the way to his dream of playing professionally. When he received the opportunity against NYCFC Angking was both eager and ready, with the hunger to show what he can do immediately off the bench.
Only eight minutes into his debut his appetite to prove himself and his confidence surfaced, as he collected a rebound from New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson and fired a shot off the post, which likely is just a preview of what to expect from Angking in matches to come.
“(Confidence is) my thing,” said Angking. “That’s what makes me strive every day. The guys know that. Without my confidence, I wouldn’t be myself.”
While the rookie helped carry out a crucial Revs win, Angking’s teammates have known that he’s had something special about him since he joined the squad.
“The kid’s come to fruition this year,” said goalkeeper Brad Knighton. “Coming into preseason and picking up the thing that he picked up was just a bit unlucky for him. He came in buzzing in preseason. You could see sparks here and there. He’s gradually played his way into the team this year and he’s fit in with the guys tremendously.”
The potential for the young midfielder continues to grow, as he just received his first national team call-up at the U-19 level, and will join the United States Under-19 Men's National Team for the U-20 Men’s Invitational tournament in Bradenton, Fla., on Thursday.
“Hopefully he’ll get a couple more games under his belt and then come back with much needed minutes under his belt as we go into this last stretch of games,” said Friedel.
Between the confidence shown by his teammates, the coaching staff and Angking himself, there is no doubt that the future is bright for this Revs rookie.