Plum’s Aldi Flowers chasing professional dream with FC Cincinnati development academy

Thursday, September 28, 2023 | 1:28 PM

Aldi Flowers’ story is a case study in a phrase that has been told to young athletes over and over again.

Always be at your best because you never know who’s watching.

For Flowers, it was a scout from FC Cincinnati who was watching, and he had no idea until he received a note from the club.

“They sent me a letter saying that I was recognized by them, and they wanted me to come try out for a week,” Flowers said. “It was an amazing opportunity. It felt good to see that all the hard work was starting to pay off. I put all my effort into that tryout, because those opportunities don’t come around every day.”

After a successful tryout he joined the FC Cincinnati’s development academy and currently trains with the U17 team.

Flowers was discovered while playing for his club team, BVB Pittsburgh. He would’ve been playing for Plum this fall but moved to Cincinnati to pursue his dream of becoming a professional player.

There’s already one member of his family that has played professionally. His uncle played in Colombia for Millonairos FC. His older brothers Marquis and DD Flowers were standout soccer players at Plum.

“Ever since I’ve been out of the womb, soccer has been a part of my life,” Flowers said. “It’s in my family. My uncle played professional soccer, and I want to be like him. My brothers played, and they’ve always been there pushing me. I’ve always wanted to be a better player than my brothers. They’ve challenged me.”

FC Cincinnati is the second MLS academy with which Flowers has trained. He started in the Philadelphia Union Academy at age 11, but when the pandemic hit in 2020 training was halted. So, Flowers went back home and tried out for BVB.

Flowers primarily has been training as a left wing with Cincinnati. He’s not the only Pittsburgh-based player in the academy. Chase Wilojanapa (Fox Chapel) and JJ Vozar (Thomas Jefferson) are on the U17 team with Flowers.

His day consists of school in the morning, training in the afternoon and weight room and film study before going to bed and repeating the next day.

“It’s always busy, but it’s a good thing,” Flowers said.

Flowers is aiming to break into the senior team and turn professional, but as an academy player he maintains his college eligibility.

One of the best moments for Flowers outside of training was attending the U.S. Open Cup semifinal when Lionel Messi and Inter Miami came to play FC Cincinnati in front of a sellout crowd.

“It was a lot of people and a lot of passion,” Flowers said. “It showed how much passion that Americans have for soccer. It was an amazing atmosphere. To see (Messi) play was a once-in-a lifetime experience. I’m glad I got to go.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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