RJ DEMELLO - Thursday, May 9, 2013
For many right now the name Amando Moreno doesn't ring a bell, but if the New York Red Bulls youngster has anything to do with it, that will all change very soon.

Moreno, 17, signed with the Red Bulls in December as a homegrown player after spending three years in the clubs academy. The youngster is relishing the chance, "it's like one big dream come true," Moreno told Full Volley. "Its been a really long and hard journey."

While he did spend three years in the academy, signing a professional contract at such a young age is a pleasant surprise for the New Jersey native. "When I first joined the Academy Red Bull team I never expected going this far, I always thought I had a good chance of going pro but never this early."

So far this season Moreno has made two brief appearances coming on as a late substitute against San Jose and DC United. The forward/winger didn't let the occasion get to him, "To be honest I wasn't nervous at all once I got in."

Since those two appearances Moreno has seen his first team chances diminish as he is yet to make another match-day squad. He acknowledges that it can be tough to crack a team with such quality, the Red Bulls have, "a lot of experienced players so it's really tough for me to go in but if I just do my thing every day and go to training, hopefully for the next game I'll be in."

His positive attitude and drive to get better through training itself are positive, but it is also nice to spend time alongside greatness. Moreno enjoys training next to stars like Tim Cahill and Thierry Henry, "We all get along pretty well, especially with Tim Cahill," he said. "He's a really be joker, he's a really funny guy."

According to Moreno, they even take the time to put in extra help with the young player, "two training sessions ago I did this shooting drill with Thierry (Henry) people were saying ‘you know how many people would pay to get even attention by Thierry?' and I was there and he was doing drills with me at the end of one of the training sessions."

This support from his star teammates certainly left an impression on Moreno. Yet, he was quick to also point out the key role Head Coach Mike Petke played in his development throughout. "I really have to thank mike, since I've started training with the pro team he's been helping me out along the way."

Past exploits for the Red Bull academy led to a call up to the United States U-18 National Team in 2011. Moreno enjoyed his time, saying that representing his country has, "been really really exciting, and actually I just got called up again- I'm going to Portugal." The teenager from Perth Amboy will leave on the 16th to meet back up with his U.S. teammates.

The experience of training with New York's first team and playing international soccer does bring up one conflict, figuring out just where to play the diminutive Moreno. "In the past few reserve games I've been switching off forward and winger but with the United States I've been playing on the wing," the seventeen year old said.

With plenty of time to figure out his best position, Moreno's focus lies with getting himself on the field for both teams. With that he has to stay positive and focus on the short term, "I just go day by day, (and say) next game I'll get my opportunity again."

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Under-20 World Cup, Tab Ramos, United States