Amjot Narang stepped onto the pitch late in Saturday’s match with San Diego Loyal, adding to an impressive SRFC Academy track record of propelling youth talent to the upper echelon of professional soccer.
After an impressive run at the MLS Next Cup in Dallas, Amjot earned a USL Academy contract in July. As a member of the U-19s squad, Amjot and his fellow graduating seniors were saluted for their academy careers during the halftime of Republic FC’s 3-1 win over New York Red Bulls II on July 31. But before he heads to UCLA in the spring, Narang continues to sharpen his skills with Republic FC’s first team – including making his debut last Saturday.
“It was a huge moment,” Narang said. “It’s not just a testament to all the work I’ve put in, but also that the club, family, friends, especially teammates and coaches have put in to help me develop as a player.”
Narang’s time on the pitch on Saturday was impactful. The El Dorado Hills native had eight touches in his first 10 professional minutes – four of those for passes, with three of the four passes coming in the attacking half. Two of those passes went to Cam Iwasa, and the other two went to SRFC’s newest attacking midfielder, Emil Cuello.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the celebratory nature of a professional debut, Narang’s used his central midfield role for the Indomitable Club to create one of SRFC’s 11 chances on the night. Republic FC played the ball around the attacking midfield in the 87th minute, before the ball fell to Narang, who found Iwasa in space for a shot on target.
Narang’s quick passing and first touches on the ball were a shadow of his style of play at MLS NEXT, where his tactical abilities and high soccer IQ made him the offensive catalyst for one of two SRFC Academy sides to advance to the tournament semifinals.
Narang’s hard work since joining the Academy in 2016 has led him to join a pipeline of Republic FC Academy products to feature at the USL Championship level. This pipeline includes current first team pro members Hayden Sargis, Mario Penagos, Rafael Jauregui and Nabi Kibunguchy – who also made his professional debut earlier this year.
“It speaks to the club’s investment into the youth,” Narang said. “It shows that not only is the club willing to play the youth, but we’re able to produce players. I think that’s great for the club, the players and the community as a whole. I feel that the club and myself had made myself ready for that moment.”
"I was really happy with Amjot to come in on his professional debut," head coach Mark Briggs added. "He affected the game, he played without fear and wanted to get on the ball. It showed again what a great job we're doing in our academy being able to introduce these younger players to professional minutes."
Narang will be available for selection on Wednesday night when the Indomitable Club faces LA Galaxy II at Dignity Health Sports Park for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
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