The Houston Dynamo made a move for the future when they announced on Wednesday they have signed 19-year-old goalkeeper Erich Marscheider.
Houston goalkeepers coach Tim Hanley saw the former Colorado Rush youth player at a scouting combine in Florida. Considering the fact that Hanley’s current goalkeepers, Tally Hall and Tyler Deric, are 26 and 23 years old, respectively, bringing in a younger option is a deal he and the club expects to pay dividends down the road.
“He has a good attitude; he works hard and has good size,” Hanley said in a team statement. “Age is also a factor because there is a big upside to a kid who is only 19 years old. Erich is very polished technically, which shows that he has been coached before, and I do not have to do a whole lot to change how he plays. Most importantly, he has a good attitude, which is something I value highly in my goalkeepers.”
The fact that Marscheider was even available for signing at such a young age presented a unique situation. A late start in the recruiting process prompted him to bypass a college career, the traditional track American players take to MLS. Marscheider made the decision to turn pro and was ready to rely on his skills to create a chance for him.
“I’m excited to work under Tim and starting [my career] early I feel is going to help me become a better goalkeeper,” Marscheider said Tuesday after training. “I can work on the physical side of things and try and get bigger and stronger now.”
While the 6-foot-2 Marscheider was ready to get his career started, bypassing college meant he had to jump through a few hoops before he actually signed his contract.
The youngster started preseason camp with the Dynamo, yet was forced to take a break last week due to MLS protocol. Since Marscheider entered the league outside the MLS draft, Houston was forced to expose him to the waiver process. With no teams biting, Marscheider was finally free to make things official in Houston.
Now the young goalkeeper will concentrate on learning from Hanley and his two elders, Hall and Deric. The laid back group has helped the teenager relax as he makes the leap from youth to professional soccer.
“The hardest thing is getting used to the pace. Everything’s a bit quicker up here,” Marscheider said. “Most of my learning is trying to stay relaxed and keep my hands and body loose. It’s helped me take a quicker learning curve than I would’ve thought possible. I’m just really excited because I didn’t think everything was going to happen this fast.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.