Auf Wiedersehen Mason!
Chargers Soccer Club and Development Academy staff are so excited and proud that Chargers player, Mason Judge, has signed for Eintracht Frankfurt of the Bundesliga! Mason has officially started his Professional career, starting and playing the whole match for Eintracht Frankfurt against FC Nurenburg in a 0-0 draw this week!
What an incredible last 3 years it has been for Mason Judge! Mason decided to come over to the Chargers Soccer Club Full Development Academy program from Tampa Bay United’s Junior Development Academy program in order to further attack his weaknesses, develop his abilities against the top competition in the country and give himself further exposure to the National Team and International opportunities. Mason has met and surpassed all of those goals!
“I have always believed that you become a better player when you play with and against better players on a daily basis. Joining the Chargers SC Development Academy enabled me to play with and against some of the best players in the USA on both a domestic and International level. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity and for the coaching, training and personal development provided by the entire coaching staff at Chargers SC.” Mason L. Judge
After being told by USA National Team staff that he should move to Chargers to further develop and push himself, Mason moved over to the Chargers as a u14 Development Academy player. A player with tremendous intensity, physicality, mentality and a true warrior on the field; Mason and the Chargers DA staff put together a training plan to help improve areas of his game for the next level. Mason was willing to work with DA staff individually, as well as train on his own every day to ensure that he improved key areas of his game. The results of this dedication and effort are evident in the accolades Mason has received in the past 3 years.
Mason, starting out with the Chargers u14 DA team in the 2016-2017 Season, led the team to a 4-0 start to the season, dominating matches from Central Defense and helping the team to be placed in the top bracket in the US Soccer Development Academy Regional Showcase in North Carolina. This was the first-time national team scouts would see Mason since his first USA National team camp and each coach was very impressed by the improvement and development in his game in the last 2-3 months.
“When Mason first came to the Chargers his physicality, mentality and defending were fantastic. However, he needed improvement in his ability to build out from the back, technical improvements with 1st touch, short and long range passing. These are areas where we knew he had to improve for the International/Professional level, as well as critiques from the US National Team. Mason dedicated himself to attacking these areas. We worked together individually, as well as Mason doing daily technical work on his own. Mason made incredible improvements in his technical abilities as well as his reading and organization of the game in those first few months. There was a noticeable improvement in these areas, which was reflected by his National team evaluation.” Chargers Nate Bender, who trained Mason individually upon his arrival at the club in preparation for his next National team camps.
After the Showcase, having adapted to the Chargers style of play and system, Mason was moved predominantly to the Chargers u16 DA team, playing 2 years up to help push him from a competition and development perspective. Playing against the top competition in the country week in and week out really pushed Mason’s game to a new level of play. His improvements tactically, learning to more effectively read the game, organize his defense, as well as technical improvements in his short and long range passing with both feet, saw Mason play a key role for the Chargers DA U-16s. Mason would also go on to receive the Best 11 players award for the entire DA Eastern Conference of America, while playing 2 years up!
Chargers staff then took Mason and other top Chargers players to Italy for a week to train with Chargers affiliate AS Roma of the Serie A. Mason trained with the top 2002 players in Italy and was exposed to the famed Italian style of defending at a club that would finish in the top 4 in the Champions League. This experience was fantastic for Mason’s development and pushed him outside of his comfort zone, preparing him for his upcoming international trips with USA.
The Chargers, AS Roma and Development Academy coaches weren’t the only ones taking notice of Mason’s development and growth. Mason was called back into the USA National Team Camps and established himself as their top Central Defender in the program.
Mason attended his first International Tournament with the USA U-15 National Team in Slovenia, starting and playing every minute in the group stages, while playing a key role in leading the USA to Tournament Champions!
Returning to Chargers as an International Champion only lit a greater fire under Mason to improve. He continued to work individually with Chargers staff, as well as putting in extra work on his own to attack areas of his game that still needed improvement.
Mason, who switched his schooling to an online program in order to maintain his ability to study and work while on International trips, began training every morning with Chargers staff member and ex-International Central Defender Andres Arango. Andres, who played as a Center Back in the u-20 World Cup vs Spain, as well as playing all over the US and Canada in the MLS and USL/NASL, finished his career as the Captain and Central Defender the last time the Tampa Bay Rowdies won the NASL Championship.
“Working with Mason was a great pleasure for me. Being able to work with him 1 on 1 definitely allowed me to really focus on areas that needed improving. Composure, decision making and perfecting technique was our focus while adding a physical element for fitness. You could see the improvement day by day. His dedication was second to none and his confidence was rising every day. There was no stopping him once he set this goal, he was going to achieve it. Mason and I have a lot in common, as I went through the same process that he is enduring and was excited to share my experiences with him, however, he is miles ahead of me and I see an incredible future for him!” Chargers Andres Arango.
The Chargers DA, 2017-2018 Season, was an incredible year for Mason and the Chargers. Mason featured for both the u19 DA and u17 DA teams during the year, playing 3 years up at times. Mason helped both teams to a number 1 ranking in the Southeastern USA Conference and ranked in the top 10 Nationally at the halfway point of the season.
Mason continued to display his dominance for the USA National Team. He was called in to play for USA at the Nike International Friendlies during the winter Development Academy Showcase, where he would be the only USA player to start and play every minute against England, Brazil and Netherlands. Mason would also captain the USA team for the first time against the Netherlands!
Mason would then go on to help lead the Chargers SC U-17 DA team to the National Playoffs, facing MLS teams LA Galaxy, FC Dallas and Columbus Crew in the playoffs. Putting in 3 stellar defensive performances, garnering attention from domestic and international scouts. International Clubs such as Liverpool, Fulham, Hoffenheim and Frankfurt were now after Mason.
To finish off the season, Mason was again selected to the 2017/2018 Eastern Conference Best 11 players in USA.
“We are extremely pleased with the progress and development that we have seen in Mason since his arrival at the Chargers. We would like to thank Roberto Lopez, Nate Bender and Andres Arango for all the training and personal coaching and mentorship that they have given to Mason. We would also like to thank the Chargers Soccer organization for their flexibility and understanding with Mason’s USA team commitments and his overseas travels.” Stephen & Angel Judge
In the same way Mason moved to the Chargers for a greater challenge, to be pushed and further develop, it was now time for the Chargers to help push Mason to the next level for his long-term development. We were so excited to encourage him to pursue his dreams at the Professional level and are very excited that he has signed his first Professional contract with Eintracht Frankfurt.
“I’m very happy for Mason, Eintracht Frankfurt is the next step in what I feel will be a long and successful career; his desire, his drive, his winning mentality, willingness to always want to learn and improve has made him viable to play for our National Team as well as for a top European club like Eintracht Frankfurt. As the Chargers Academy Director and U-17 DA Head Coach, I have to say that he is one of the most coachable players that I ever worked with, his ability to keep his feet on the ground and mentality to always give a good account of himself, will only enhance his talent, it was a pleasure to have coached him, I wish him the best of luck.” Roberto Lopez, Chargers DA Academy Director
On behalf of all of the Chargers staff, we were honored to work with and help push Mason to the next level of his game. He’s a great example for all of our young players in what can be achieved when you dedicate and challenge yourself to always improve every day. We have no doubt that Mason will continue to attack his weaknesses and strive to further himself as a Professional player.
We are excited to see where this great journey takes you Mason! We wish you the best of luck!