Central Coast Mariners Academy Captain and Entrance Bateau Bay Junior, Steve Whyte has earned an overseas opportunity of a lifetime by inking a professional contract with Seattle Sounders FC 2.
21-year-old Whyte who has played six seasons in the Foxtel National Youth League will travel to the United States of America to join Major League Soccer Outfit, Seattle Sounders where he will pay with the club’s second team (Seattle Sounders FC 2).
Whyte will play under S2 Head Coach, Ezra Hendrickson and reunite with a familiar face in Assistant Coach, John Hutchinson who originally invited the young defender to trial with Seattle in June where he impressed enough to earn his first professional contract. Seattle Sounders FC 2 compete in the United Soccer League (USL), the second tier of football in the USA.
Whyte has worked with Central Coast Mariners Academy Head Coach, Ben Cahn for two seasons with the academy and one with the Foxtel National Youth League team and gave credit to Cahn for the chance to earn an overseas contract.
“This has really come out of nowhere but it’s an amazing opportunity and one that I could not turn down,” Whyte said. “You work hard for these opportunities and I have been lucky enough to earn this one so now I need to grab it with both hands.
“Benny has been massive for me. I think the first season he was here I was having troubles on and off the pitch so I wasn’t playing much but he got me back on track and that’s why I am here today. He has made everything happen for me, believed in me and just gave me that opportunity. So, I have to say a huge thanks to him but also everyone who is at the Central Coast Mariners and involved with the academy.
“My time at the Mariners has been amazing. When I was younger I never thought, I was going to make it but I just kept working my way through the ranks. When Benny came along and announced that I was captain of the NPL & NYL it was huge for me and my family.
“My main goal over there is to play, I want to play as many games as I can and hopefully impress the coaches – you never know what can happen when you’re playing well and working hard.
“When I was there on trial I obviously didn’t know anyone so Hutch was great helping me settle in,” Whyte said.
Cahn credited Whyte for his hard work and contribution to the Foxtel National Youth League and PS4 NPL 2 campaigns.
“This is a great opportunity for Whytie,” Cahn said. “To be able to have the opportunity to sign his first professional contract is amazing for him.
“Steve, along with some of the other local boys has been the driving force behind such a positive culture we’ve created here. His leadership, his positivity has been outstanding. He’s grown a lot over the past couple of years and developed into an excellent footballer.
“Losing your captain on the run into the finals is a huge loss but as soon as we heard that offer was on the table we were never going to stand in his way. Our aim is to develop professional footballers.
“I know how much hard work he has put in, he has done all the small things behind the scenes that make a difference and without those things it’s very difficult to earn a professional career and he’s really committed himself to making those sacrifices and it’s great to see that pay off for him. I’ve developed a close relationship with him, put a lot of trust into him and he’s always made sure my messages were carried out on the pitch and in the dressing room – I don’t know if he knows it but he’s been an incredible influence on the young players coming through who really look up to him and hopefully this gives them more inspiration to push hard,” Cahn said.
The Central Coast Mariners would like to wish Steve all the best in this huge step of his career.