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Sewickley, Pine-Richland standouts make jump to Riverhounds training academy

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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Steven Munn of Cranberry and Tyler mcCarthy of Pine-Richland sign their contracts to be part of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds for this past summer.

When it comes to soccer, former Pine-Richland star Tyler McCarthy and rising Sewickley Academy senior Steven Munn of Cranberry, will do whatever it takes to compete against the best competition.

Both local standouts on the high school soccer field got a chance to mix it up with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds when they agreed to United Soccer League Academy agreements with the club this past summer. McCarthy agreed to a standard agreement, while Munn had a training-only situation. The goal of the club is to foster the hometown talent with the highest level of soccer in the area.

In high school, McCarthy was named to the all-section team three times, all-WPIAL twice and all-state once and he helped the Rams win two section titles. During that span, McCarthy trained with West Ham United and the Philadelphia Union U-18 Academy.

Munn has one more high school season left, but according to Pittsburgh Riverhounds Academy Director Scott Gibson, he is a Division I prospect.

“I was actually 13 when I joined the academy,” Munn said. “I had some friends do it, and they loved it and encouraged me to come out. I did several supplemental programs that helped me develop as a player and then I was offered an academy spot.”

McCarthy, who will suit up this fall for California (Pa.) University will play some tough competition, but this past summer he primed himself by signing an academy contract.

McCarthy practiced with the team two days a week from December to February and, in June, Riverhounds head coach Justin Evans signed McCarthy.

He saw some game action against the highly-touted Wigan Athletic team late in the season.

“That was big for me,” McCarthy said. “They beat Manchester City in the FA Cup in England in May.”

Getting to play pro ball will not affect McCarthy or Munn's high school or college status, as their contracts were not for money, thus not a violation of NCAA regulations.

“I got to compete against the highest level of competition (I ever have),” McCarthy said. “It is just below MLS. It was not like high school soccer … a definite step up and there is nothing slow about the game at all.”

Munn agrees that the return to high school games will obviously be a step back from the current professional players he plays against.

“The pro training will definitely help my speed of play,” Munn said. “I want to be an impact player this season.”

Mann said his favorite thing is the professional atmosphere, which is a dream come true for the high school senior.

McCarthy and Mann were with the Riverhounds until early August, when they had to leave and return to their schools for practice.

Mann and McCarthy have known each other for several years. They played together when they were young, took separate paths for a spell, and then were reunited with the Riverhounds.

“You have to give your best, and if you make a mistake, you hear about it,” Mann said of the Riverhounds workouts. “You can't get by without fixing your mistakes.

“Mentally, it has made me more confident in my ability, and I know if I can play here, I can play anywhere in the world.”

While McCarthy has his college future set, Mann is in talks with some schools and hopes to make a decision once he gathers all the information that is available.

Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jeclark@tribweb.com.

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