Auston Trusty’s strong start with Birmingham City is a big step in Arsenal’s quest for playing time 09/10/2022

The past two transfer windows have been very busy for American players in MLS. League teams have continued to buy and sell domestic players at levels unimaginable less than a decade ago. Given this, some transfers go unnoticed in terms of media attention in the United States.

auston faithful, 24, is certainly an example. The Media, Pennsylvania native was traded to Arsenal from Colorado Rapids last winter but was loaned to Colorado until July. Even when it was known he would be moving to Europe, there was little curiosity about his next destination.

Just days after joining Arsenal, it was announced that Trusty would join Birmingham City on loan. Trusty immediately broke into the club’s starting line-up as a left centre-back in a three-man back line and played every minute of the first eight games.

But for the lack of attention his move received in the United States, it was the opposite in Birmingham. Trusty has become a fan favorite for her consistently strong performances and is regularly the subject of “USA, USA” chants from fans.

“I walk around my neighborhood or sit in a restaurant, people come up to me,” Trusty told Soccer America. “Which is pretty cool because in the US people don’t care.

“I feel like everyone here is my family – and they are my initial first family in England. I think the fans respect a player who strives to do well and gives his all. The fans played a huge role. The guys in the team, the organization all make me feel at home, but the fans who chant ‘USA, USA’ – you just want to fight for them.”

Birmingham City Head Coach Jean Eustache was quick to praise Trusty.

“Auston has been brilliant, his attitude is a different class, he’s held on,” Eustace said. “He wants to learn. We are very lucky to have him here.”

Things at Birmingham City have been mixed on the pitch. The club got off to a poor start with just eight points from eight games – good for 21st in the 24-team EFL Championship, England’s second tier. But Trusty and the defense weren’t a problem as the club only conceded eight goals. The bad start is due to the meager five goals scored by the team.

Part of what contributed to Trusty’s successful transition to English is the coaching he received in Colorado. Knowing the move was approaching, the staff at Rapids worked hard with Trusty to help ensure success in England.

Trusty’s path to this point began in 2011 when he joined the Philadelphia Union academy and in 2016 he signed a deal with Homegrown. In 2018, he was a starting centre-back alongside the current United States international Marc McKenzie. At the end of the 2019 season, he was traded to the Colorado Rapids.

“Playing in MLS and playing for the national teams, I was really prepared for this move and my career here in England,” Trusty said. “There are good players in MLS, there are good players coming to MLS and good players coming. Overall I feel good, like I could play. Coming here is more the mental side. You say to yourself: can I play here? … Play wisely, I think in MLS, when you’re up there [at a high level within the league], you can play abroad. It’s more the mental side of the game.”

“In Colorado, they really helped me prepare mentally, physically and how I approach every little aspect of my game, preparing me for this stage,” Trusty said. “They did a great job.”

It’s also easy to see why big clubs were interested in Trusty – a very athletic 6’4” tall left-footed defender whose accomplishments include leading Philadelphia to the playoffs in 2018 and a run to the finals of the US Open Cup. In 2021, he helped Colorado finish first in the Western Conference in the regular season.

The decision to sign for Arsenal was a ‘no-brainer’ for Trusty, even if it meant potential loans to start. While some players who have been sold by MLS teams opted for their first European destination outside of the traditional ‘big five’, Trusty opted for one of England’s biggest clubs.

When asked, Trusty simply said: ‘I support myself, I believe in myself’ and he believes he will eventually get a chance with the Gunners.

One of the things that helped Trusty in her transition to the English game was also about her teammates. Trusty was expecting an initial cold shoulder as he arrived aiming to compete for minutes and perhaps take the place of a more established player. That hasn’t been the case as the Birmingham City players have been welcoming from the start.

“I kind of thought the guys would be a little harsh, don’t really want to talk to me, don’t want anything to do with me because I’m fighting for a spot, I’m American – so they wouldn’t respect me,” Trusty said. “But honestly, in the situation, being with Arsenal and here, everyone was so nice, so friendly, so welcoming, which shocked me a bit.

“Even when I was in Philadelphia, there was an adjustment for me as a young player. People weren’t that friendly, people weren’t like that. I expected it to be like this here or worse…. But in the end, we are here to win.

Off the pitch, Trusty pointed out that England was starting to feel like home as he had a flat, a local bank account, a UK phone and was now comfortable driving across of the road.

But he is still often called up at home, especially on the pitch as there are an increasing number of Americans in the league and Trusty can now play against them on a fairly regular basis.

In the club’s last game, Birmingham City beat a Preston North End side who have teammate Trusty for the 2015 USA U-17 World Cup Matthew Olosunde on his list. In the previous match, Trusty was able to play against Josh Sargent in a 1-0 loss to Norwich City. Trusty and Sargent were teammates on the 2017 U-20 World Cup squad. Next month, Trusty will have the chance to reconnect with his compatriot from southeast Pennsylvania. Zack Steffen visiting to face Middlesbrough.

Potentially in the FA Cup, Birmingham City could face Premier League opponents Leeds United Where chelsea and that would see him playing either Christian Pulisic Where Tyler Adamswho were his teammates in the 2015 U-17 World Cup squad, or Brenden Aaronsonwho also went through the Union academy.

“We all stay in touch because at the end of the day, we all play football,” Trusty said. “Our lives are a bit hectic, but every football relationship in a sense is like: I’ll see you when I see you. But the next time you see them, it’s like you saw them yesterday…. It’s so cool to see that we’re really here doing our thing in one of the best footballing countries in the world. Playing against them is like: I’m proud of you, but also I’ve want to kick your ass. It’s a mix of feelings but after the game, it’s more like saying: it’s so good to see you.

As a young player, Trusty was highly regarded. He is part of a limited group of players who made the rosters for the U-17 and U-20 World Cups, respectively. Many players from these teams are now central to the full national team.

While Trusty was called up to the full national team last winter for a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina, he hasn’t played and is still awaiting his first cap. Coming back to the national team with several of his former junior teammates is a big motivator for Trusty. Even though he doesn’t make the World Cup squad in Qatar, he will still be at his peak throughout the next cycle.

“Every person’s goal should be to play in the World Cup and play for their national team,” Trusty said. “I think about it every day. I just try to do whatever it takes to maximize my chances and maximize my potential to be in the team.

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