The Austin FC Academy began competition in the fall of 2019, with the aim of developing young players into professionals. In its short history, the Academy has already produced five players who have gone on to play at the professional level with Austin FC II.
Recently, Spencer Sanderson became the latest product of the Austin FC Academy to make his professional debut. The 17-year-old started between the pipes for Austin FC II in their final regular season match against North Texas SC.
“It felt amazing,” said Sanderson on making his professional debut. “Obviously, it’s something I’ve been working towards for a long time. I’ve been here since the first ever Austin FC Academy team so its been a long road to work my way up to a professional team. Making my professional debut is just really special and something I’m really proud of.”
Sanderson signed an amateur agreement with Austin FC II on March 24, which allows him to play professionally while maintaining his eligibility for collegiate and academy competitions. He has been a part of the Academy since its origination and is now currently in his fifth season with them.
“It’s a really good place to learn a lot of what Austin FC tries to instill in every player,” he said on his time with the Academy. “The camaraderie is amazing, and I have a lot of friends here. It’s been a really good steppingstone into the second team and hopefully into the first team as well.”
Jason Grubb, the goalkeeper coach for Austin FC II, has helped prepare Sanderson for his first foray into life as a professional. Grubb also aided goalkeeper Damian Las in winning the MLS NEXT Pro Goalkeeper of the Year award. In addition to his role at Austin FC II, Grubb is also the goalkeeper coach for the U-20 U.S. Men’s Youth National Team.
“Jason is an amazing coach,” said Sanderson. “He’s taught me so much. He challenges me but I know it's for the best and I can definitely see a lot of the payoffs of that hard work. A lot of his teachings are reflected in how I play and a lot of my morals on the field and off the field as well. He’s an amazing coach.”
Reflecting on his time with the Austin FC Academy, Sanderson acknowledges the hard work that led to his professional debut.
“It’s been a long road – lots of ups and downs,” said Sanderson. “This is year number five for me. A lot of hard work and making the most of every day. When I get to be a part of the second team or train with the first team, it really just making the most of it and seizing every opportunity.”