Image property of Tim Guercio
Less than a week ago, MFF scout Tim Guercio held the second Mongolian Premier League Combine of the offseason, this one again in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Although it was the second event, the combine yielded the first prospect who will be travelling to Mongolia in March 2018, Noah Parker.
Noah Parker (born 30 October 1998) is a 19-year-old who prefers to play in the central attacking midfield position but is versatile in that part of the field and is able to play on both sides of the ball. He was born in Hackettowns, New Jersey before moving to Charlotte, North Carolina at the age of 8.
The majority of Noah's playing experience is with his school team at Queens Grant High School. As a four-year varsity player, he won numerous awards with the team, including being named to the All-Conference and All-Region teams and serving as team captain during his junior and senior years. His 39 career assist also set the school's all-time record. He also had a brief stint with the local Charlotte Soccer Academy (CSA).
After high school, Noah committed to play college soccer at nearby Montreat College. However, because of a coaching change at the school when the previous coach took a position at another college, he was allowed to opt out of his commitment and decided to do so. Because he withdrew at such a late point, he did not have time to latch on with another team so he decided to take a semester off from his education.
During his gap time, Noah missed playing the game that had been such an integral part of his life since the age of 5. He stayed connected to the sport by acting as an assistant coach for his high school alma mater but it was not enough.
As he tried to sort out his future, it was actually a connection from his past that paved the way. Noah had known Tim Guercio for a while through college ID camps held around their state. It seemed like a perfect fit when Tim was searching for skilled players and Noah was looking for a team so Noah ended up at the MPL Combine.
Noah describes the combine as, "...intense. There were a lot of small sided games which made me have to increase my speed of play a lot. The other players that attended were of a very high quality so to be selected among them is quite a humbling achievement."
About his impending adventure, Noah says that he is excited, particularly considering that it will be his first trip of any kind abroad. In preparation for the trip, he has been watching videos and trying to learn as much about the sport in Mongolia as he can. One thing that he has learned already is that the popularity and growth of the sport and the league in Mongolia are on the rise. He also notes that the build up play seems technically very sound.
So what happens now? Well, Noah does not have a team quite yet. When he travels to Mongolia he will be part of another combine that will be attended by Premier League clubs looking to sign new talent. However, he is guaranteed a team because of a special arrangement with Tim Guercio. If Noah is not recruited to another club, he is guaranteed a roster spot on Tim's own UB Spartans, a new team which will compete in the second tier beginning next season, a deal that Noah would be all-too-happy to accept.
Like many young players, Noah has a long list of goals: to have his career take him to Europe and eventually get the college degree that he is putting on hold to pursue his dream. Another goal that Noah notes is to be able to be involved with missionary work in local churches, also fulfilling the values of his faith.
While there will naturally be a lot of uncertainty and adventure ahead, one thing is definite, the 19-year-old will enjoy every moment of it.