After spending the first half of the summer with Lansing United of the National Premier Soccer League, Elmira’s Tyler Pasher is on the cusp of reaching North America’s top soccer league: the MLS.
Having played with the Toronto Football Club’s Youth Academy before ageing out at 18, Pasher now has a shot with the big club.
The speedy defender was brought in by the Reds for a weeklong tryout last month and reports indicate head coach Ryan Nelson is considering signing the 20-year-old to a professional contract.
During a brief stop at his family’s Elmira home before the Civic Holiday weekend, Pasher was mum on any potential deal, simply stating that he is “looking for a pro-club to take me on,” and that he’s been told “to keep in shape and keep ready.”
While playing the waiting game, Pasher planned to head back down to Michigan to re-join Lansing United for a week of training.
The fourth-tier club serves as a summer league for players on NCAA scholarships, Pasher said.
“The coaches were good and the staff was good,” Pasher said of his experience with Lansing.”The setup was pretty professional. They looked after their players really, really well and they found a lot of good talent for the team.
“I was home for the summer and I didn’t have anywhere to play, and the assistant coach there is a very good friend of mine. Mike Meyer got me involved with the head coach and got me in there for training and I eventually decided to stay for the season.”
Pasher excelled with United, scoring 3 goals and 6 assists in 10 matches to help the team earn a conference title in its inaugural year, while also being named to the “supporters XI,” the all-star squad selected by fans.
While home games brought in close to 1,000 fans a night, Pasher said it paled in comparison to his time with the Palloseura (PS) Kemi Kings in Finland’s second-division Kokkonen, where he spent the 2013 campaign.
But the best could be yet to come, as TFC often packs BMO Field at Toronto’s Exhibition Grounds with close to 20,000 faithful.
In the meantime, Pasher is keeping a positive attitude and using his experience playing professionally in Europe to help his Lansing teammates.
“You have to help them out and give them good advice and information to keep them positive and help your team succeed,” he said.