We were excited to recently catch up with former Seacoast United Maine soccer player, Myles Culley! Myles is an 04 birth year that grew up through the ranks of Seacoast United. As a young kid, he is an example of how the pyramid of Seacoast United has helped a player continue with his aspirations to play soccer at the highest level achievable. Myles worked with a myriad of coaches while at Seacoast United Maine whom helped prepare him with a solid foundation in his soccer development.
At Myles’ U12 season, he was invited to play in the Seacoast United Development Academy where he thrived playing under Pete Decker. The Falmouth native, made the commitment as he aspired (and still does) to play soccer professionally. After 3 full seasons with the Seacoast United DA – the opportunity to move to Philadelphia and take a spot in the Philadelphia Union DA was too much to pass up. In the Summer of 2018 – Myles moved to Philadelphia to play in the MLS (Major League Soccer) club’s Development Academy program.
Last week, we caught up with Myles to ask about how his soccer journey has gone so far!
Name: Myles Culley
Residence: Falmouth Maine
1) When did you start playing with Seacoast United Maine? What brought you to the club?
When I was 6, my parents signed me up for Falmouth Rec Soccer. I wasn’t very good, but I quickly fell in love with soccer. My parents then signed me up for the SUSC Maine program, Mini Mariners. Paul Cameron was my first coach at Seacoast, and from him and others, I began to learn to play the right way. The experience with SUSC Maine was great from the beginning, and so I progressed to Junior Academy and then the Premier teams.
2) How did Seacoast United Maine help you on your path to the Philadelphia Union? What did the club help you with in your development on your way to where you are now? What coaches/players/teams were you a part of?
Seacoast Maine was the perfect club for me as a young player. To this day, a lot of coaches remark on my technique, and I learned that in Maine. SUSC Maine emphasizes dribbling and 1v1 attacking from a young age and that really helped me. As a young player 8,9, 10 years old, I developed an identity and play style that continue to define my game today.
My first official team was the U9 Mariners; the coach was Colin Reilly. Colin was a very supportive coach who encouraged players to express themselves. Then, I played on u10 and u11 teams under Coaches Jeff Beck and Josh Needle. Coach Beck was a great coach, he balanced his competitive edge with fun trainings, and like almost all Seacoast Maine coaches gave everybody on the team lots of freedom to be creative. Coach Needle helped us a lot with technique and attacking moves.
That last year in Maine, I also played up on the U13 team. It was a new challenge for me. I was so much smaller than all the players in that age group and I had to rely on my technique and finesse to get by. This helped prepare me for my next steps; I was always and still am smaller. I have never been the strongest or the fastest, so I have to be play better and smarter to succeed. The trust that Coach Andrew Pelletier, and later Jimmy Hopkins placed in me when I was playing up a couple years was really important. There were also a few older players I looked up to and learned from on that U13 team. Joey Ansel-Mullen, and Max Spelke to name a few.
3) What players (pro) do you look to emulate your game after?
I am left-footed and so I tend to watch other left-footed players. This is pretty cliche but I really enjoy watching Messi play and definitely learn a lot from him. Another player is Bernardo Silva of Man City. He is not very physical which is something I can relate to, but he is very creative and has the ability to pick out a pass that can open up a defense and lead to a goal. I also like his ability to take people on, and his composure when he gets on the ball.
4) You have been to Europe a few times to play soccer, where have you played? And how have those opportunities helped you grow on and off the field?
I am very grateful for the time I spent in Europe with Seacoast United. Seacoast United has a partnership with Brighton Hove Albion, a premier league club. There I trained with Seacoast at Brighton and Hove Albion's facilities and played against their youth teams.
Playing in Europe was an eye opening experiencience for me, I was able to compare my game with some of the top players in England. In my trips to England, I have played against youth teams of Man City, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Brighton and others. I got to see where I stood as a player and also to experience a professional youth academy at Brighton where the goal is to produce professional players. At the Brighton Academy, they really influenced being a really good person off the field, and I appreciated that. Experiencing the professional academy at Brighton helped prepare me for this year in the Philadelphia Union Academy.
5) What are some things you like to do when you aren’t playing soccer?
When I’m not playing soccer I enjoy fishing and playing video games with my friends. Right now I play mostly FIFA 19.
6) Tell us about your decision to go to the Seacoast United Development Academy. Was it tough? What obstacles did you have to hurdle?
By the time I turned 11, I was doing really well and decided I wanted to see how far I could go in soccer. My teams and coaches in Maine were awesome and prepared me for my next challenge in the game. This meant playing in the US Soccer Development Academy, which is the highest youth league in the US. At this level, U.S youth national team scouts were coming to games and we were playing against top teams like the NY Red Bulls and NYCFC.
I spent three years playing out of New Hampshire. The move was rewarding and well worth it, but it wasn’t always easy. Three or four days a week, I would ride from Falmouth to Epping, NH to train. Usually we had car pools, so that was kind of fun, but it was still draining. Away games were as far away as New Jersey. Often, we would travel to New York or New Jersey for a single game, so there was a lot of travel.
For most of my three years in New Hampshire, my coach was Pete Decker and he is one of the best! He was a great passionate coach and he was incredibly supportive of my development. When I decided I wanted to make the next step and join a pro club, instead of holding me back, Peter supported me through the process. I am grateful for this.
7) What aspects of your game define you as a player?
As an attacker I would say creativity and vision define my game. I am the type of player who wants to make things happen on the attack. I use my vision to pick out penetrating passes. And also I can take people off the dribble.
Through all my years at Seacoast (Maine and New Hampshire), I played as an attacking midfielder, a #10. Now with the Union, they have me playing more as a RIght Wing and that has been fun. I like to cut in from the right side and pass or shoot.
8) Can you highlight your experience with the Seacoast United Development Academy and how that has helped you with your move to Philadelphia?
My experience at the Seacoast United DA was very important in preparing me for my move to Union. At the Seacoast DA I was able to play with really good players and for great coaches. And I played against some of the best players in the country. There was constant exposure to scouts and opposing coaches and that was one of the reasons I was able to get a trial with Union.
9) How has the move to Philadelphia gone? What have been the challenges? What have been your best experiences so far? What does your typical week look like?
So far, the move to Union has been really good for me. My best experiences so far has definitely been playing against some of the biggest teams in the world like Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at the ICC Futures Tournament in Florida. Another great experience has been playing in and winning the Generation Adidas Cup against the MLS teams from the east.
Although my time at Union has been filled with great experiences, it’s also been filled with challenges. One of these challenges is competing weekly with my teammates (who are the best players in the country) for minutes in the games on the weekend. The competition is cutthroat. All of us want to be pros. Another challenge is dealing with the physicality. I am one of the smaller players on my team. However, I think being smaller and maybe less athletic has helped me grow as a player. Because of my lack of physicality I have to think quicker and play faster.
A typical week at Union consists of training every day after school. And three times a week before school. Our morning trainings are on Tuesday’s, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. So we train 8x per week! On days with morning trainings I get up around 8:00, go to training then go to school. The school, YSC Academy is basically part of the Union. All the students are players in the Academy and it is located at the training facility. My 9th grade class is made up of the kids from my team which is pretty cool. Going to school together boosts our team chemistry because we are around each other all the time. After school ends, I do my homework and then go to evening training at 5pm. After evening training ends around 7pm, I usually go home and get to bed early. The days are exhausting!
10) Who’s the best Culley soccer player? You? Fallon (06G) or Quinn (08G)?
Tough question! Quinn has a ton of potential. She is the fastest of the Culley kids but, right now, she is more into dance. Fallon’s a really smart and technical player. She is an excellent passer. I would say she is the best. Sometimes I struggle to beat her when we play 1 v 1 in the backyard!