North Catholic sophomore Gallup signs with FC Cincinnati academy program

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Wednesday, June 10, 2020 | 1:28 PM


North Catholic’s Gabe Gallup has been working toward a dream for the past four years.

Since he was in seventh grade, Gallup has wanted to sign with a professional soccer academy. Late last week, Gallup accomplished that goal when he signed his offer letter from MLS’s FC Cincinnati to play for their academy program.

“It’s great. That was my main goal,” he said. “My goal was to go to a DA (development academy), and I’ve finally reached it, so I was pretty happy about that.”

Last November, Gallup was invited to Cincinnati to train with the team and said he felt he played well while he was there. He said he was supposed to go back in March to train with the team again, but the coronavirus pandemic canceled those plans.

That didn’t stop FC Cincinnati from offering the sophomore.

“He came in and trained very well with us and showed a lot of good stuff,” said Nikola Katic, the U15 coach for FC Cincinnati who also trained Gallup during his 10-plus years with the Riverhounds. “He’s a hard worker, has good speed, good quickness and has decent technical ability. He will do well, and it will push him and challenge him to do even better.”

Gallup didn’t earn his offer on pure athletic ability; his soccer talent and abilities have come a long way since he first started playing. From his ball skills, to his soccer IQ, to his movement around the field, Gallup has put in the work in order to fulfill his ultimate goal.

That hard work came in the form of 6 a.m. workouts with coaches before school, extra individual training sessions before his practices with the Riverhounds, and an overall commitment to doing whatever he could to improve his game.

“He’s a prime example of when you decide to do something and you decide to put everything into that basket and you get a good opportunity out of it,” Katic said. “That’s what’s happened to him the last few years. He decided to pursue this dream of his, and he wants to give himself the best opportunity possible.”

Gallup began playing club soccer for SCS United and admitted he wasn’t very good. But, as time carried on, and as he started to put in the work to improve, he climbed through the ranks by improving his skills.

By seventh grade, Gallup tried out for the Riverhounds Academy and made the team. But again, he had an uphill climb so he put in the work with Katic and other coaches in order to improve.

“He had the talent and had a good foundation in terms of speed, agility and endurance when he first joined the Riverhounds organization,” Katic said. “Technically he was poor, so he focused on those things as well as the reading of the game, and he’s just gotten the experience of playing the game at another level.”

Even at the high school level, North Catholic coach Aaron Kelly could see Gallup’s improvement from his freshman year to his sophomore year.

“He had shot up and physically he had gotten quicker and stronger,” Kelly said. “Between his freshman and sophomore year, it was a night and day difference.”

While at North Catholic and even while he was with the Riverhounds, Gallup got to play alongside talented players who helped him improve. At North Catholic, he played with Joe Kearney and Ryan Augustine, who were two of the top players in the WPIAL last year and combined for 73 goals.

As a winger, who Kelly said could adapt to wherever they placed him, Gallup was able to score six goals and dish 12 assists as a sophomore last season for a Trojans team that went 13-4-2 and lost in the WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinals.

Kelly believes playing alongside players like Kearney and Augustine, as well as playing against tough competition like WPIAL and PIAA champion Quaker Valley twice a year helped Gallup’s development, as well.

“Coming is as a freshman and having to play against those type of players definitely helped him develop,” Kelly said. “Then playing teams like Quaker Valley twice a year only helped prepare him for his next steps at Cincinnati.”

Gallup was able to challenge himself against some of the best players in the area and beyond, but, now, after he’s achieved his dream, he’s not ready to rest on his laurels just yet.

“It’s kind of satisfying in a way,” Gallup said about seeing his hard work pay off. “But I’m nowhere near done, though, because now I have to work twice as hard.”

Two more Riverhounds academy players — Thomas Jefferson’s Marshall Richter, 16, and Fox Chapel’s Chase Wilojanapa, 12 — also were given the opportunity to sign with FC Cincinnati’s Development Academy. Richter was one of four Thomas Jefferson players named to the WPIAL Class 3A Section 4 All-Section team after scoring eight goals and dishing out nine assists during his sophomore year.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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