By FRANCO PANIZO
SUNRISE, Fla. — Marc Pelosi may be on the books for one of the biggest clubs in Europe, but that does not mean he is taking his spot on the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team for granted.
A member of the reserve system for English side Liverpool, Pelosi just recently finished partaking in the last U.S. Under-20 camp of 2012 and he did so despite arriving late. The 18-year-old midfielder joined the team midway through their week-long camp in South Florida after wrapping up some club commitments (Pelosi and Liverpool’s U-19 team went to Singapore to participate in the NexLions Cup).
His commitment to a U.S. U-20 team, which is two months away from attempting to qualify for the 2013 World Cup, has not gone unnoticed.
“Marc is a very good player and he’s a well-rounded individual. He’s got great charisma in the locker room, he works very hard in practice, he’s a good example to everybody else,” said U.S. U-20 head coach Tab Ramos. “In particular, when you have a player playing for a big club who comes in, he could be thinking, ‘Hey, I play Liverpool, just call me for the game.’ and I don’t think Marc is like that. He wants to be the hardest working player here and I think that rubs off on everybody else.”
The versatile midfielder only had four days with his American teammates but he was still able to further acclimate himself to Ramos’ attack-oriented system. Pelosi is being deployed in the middle, but he has more defensive responsibilities than some of his teammates.
“Here I play basically in the same position as I do in Liverpool, so I’m pretty comfortable,” said Pelosi. “We play three defensive and one attacking (midfielders). I’m one of the defensive midfielders. I like playing there and think it’s a good place for me.”
Pelosi is equally content to be plying his trade in England and for Liverpool. Yes, the historic English club is more than 5,000 miles away from his hometown of Sunnyvale, Calif., but the 6-foot midfielder is feeling more comfortable after completing his first year with the club.
“It’s really far from home but my mom comes and visits every once and a while,” said Pelosi. “I went to the IMG Residency, so that was a good step because I was living away from home already. I’m liking it over there more and more every day and getting more friends and getting more used to it, so getting better in soccer, too.”
Pelosi has been playing with Liverpool’s reserve teams since signing with the club in November 2011, but it appears he is not opposed to the idea of going out on loan some time in the near future to try and earn some first-team minutes.
“I’d have to talk to Liverpool about that but right now I’m playing with the reserves and at least definitely this year I won’t be going out,” said Pelosi. “But we’ll see what happens.”
In the short-term, Pelosi is expected to be on the U.S. team that attempts to advance out qualifying in Puebla, Mexico in February. He is excited about the prospects of being on that team as well as potentially playing in another youth World Cup next summer but knows nothing is guaranteed, which may explain his unassuming demeanor as he rounds out this year and heads into 2013.
“I went to the U-17 World Cup and it was a great experience and I just really wish I could live that over with the U-20s,” said Pelosi. “It would be really fun to be with these guys and I’m excited for it.”