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From the Pitch - From Day One

By Niall McCabe, 04/21/21, 4:00PM EDT


From Day One

Author - Niall McCabe
Niall McCabe
Louisville City FC
April 21, 2021

There are a few things I remember clear as day about my first LouCity game. 

To start, it was also my first ever game as a pro. So ya, there’s that. I also remember it was sunny and that I was nervous. Toward the end of the first half, I remember twisting my ankle... but there was no way I was coming off so I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want my debut to end like that, so I didn't say anything and just kind of played through until the end. 

It was different back then at LouCity. Things were smaller, more humble. I remember hearing plans about the coach and the ownership group. They talked about all these things they wanted to do, Year One, Year Two, Year Three. 

Lots of people were asking questions: 

Will this club work in a college town? 

Can soccer be popular in a city where basketball is so big? 

But almost immediately it was clear we had something here. It was a big draw. The community cared. We knew we were onto something.

It fills me with pride that I've been able to play at a high level for six years. Looking back at the players we had at the very beginning, there were almost no egos. Everyone was there to work -- to enable others to push on or to do whatever needed to be done for the team to be successful.

I've still got a lot of friends from that group around the league, who I’ve kept in touch with over the years. We all agree: what we have going for us here in Louisville is that everyone is super down to earth. It’s about the collective. They just come in, do the work, train to the max, play to the max. Then we go home and do it again the next day.

It’s great that we’ve been able to keep a lot of our players during the last seven years. That kind of continuity is rare at this level. When something happens to one of our guys, or when a player is down, it's up to the team to pick them up. You help them out -- that's just the way it is.

When you get to know people on a more personal level, you want to give that little bit extra for them. Life happens, and when you know your teammate is struggling with something, you do what you can to help.

Here, you can always count on the lads, that's no matter what. They won’t let you down.

That’s one of the reasons why I think there’s no place I’d rather be than Louisville. 

We have the team, we have the stadium, the coach, the training facility -- everything's there for us to be successful. Now, we have the Academy and the women’s team, and I’m pumped for that. When I'm out there at the Academy, some nights during the week it's packed full of kids. The field is flooded with hundreds of them, every night, no matter the cold. That’s great to see.

I obviously work really hard to stay here… why would I want to be anywhere else? 

Honestly, I’m super competitive, and I love winning. There's no better feeling than winning, and there's no worse feeling than losing. Here, you know we're always going to be challenging. It's pretty easy to stay when you know the players you have around you. Winning is what keeps me around.

It's not just on the matchday when you need to show up -- it's literally every single day. I'll be working just as hard to win again next year. Louisville is the place.

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