By Aaron Tomich/NPSL.com
Hard work, humility, and the ability to adjust and adapt are key elements to the story of success for center back Max Flick.
Flick, a 27-year-old who hails from Pittsburgh, PA, has emulated consistency this past season playing for North Carolina Football Club, a USL League 1 side. The defender has seen regular-season action in 25 matches (all starts) in 2021 for NCFC and has played nearly every minute of those matches. Notably, Flick leads the team in clearances with 99, has an 87% passing accuracy and has scored two goals during the campaign.
According to Flick, that consistency in play can be attributed to a few things, the first being his work ethic.
“Defensively, I think the work ethic that I have has really helped me,” said Flick. “Coming to NCFC, they wanted to see me at center-back and once I got in there, I started doing well.”
Flash back to his days in college playing for Point Park University, Flick was primarily a winger and played at the 10, a position that is quite a different than that of the back line. Playing in NPSL for the Pittsburgh Hotspurs helped allow for his change, as he began to float to the back line, specifically to left back.
The defender mentioned that he became much more of a well-rounded player because of that switch in his role, utilizing his on-ball skills to his advantage, whether it was to help the attack on a counter or to maneuver opposing players throughout each match.
“From the moment Max joined us, we never quite could work out why he wasn’t picked up by a professional club,” said Flick’s head coach at Pittsburgh Hotspurs, Tom Campbell. “He could play any position and make a positive contribution, such was his footballing ability.”
Flick said that his time spent in NPSL, where he similarly played 90 minutes for nine out of the 10 games he saw action in, was crucial to his overall development as a soccer player. He noted that playing with Hotspurs gave him the chance to grow stronger both physically and mentally.
“Coming out of college, I didn’t know if I was physically fit enough or even on the mental side of things, but playing in NPSL and on those teams allowed me to grow in my discipline and skills in order to now be at this pro level and be ready,” said Flick.
Campbell certainly recognized the effort that Flick put in with Hotspurs, knowing that it would continue wherever his career would take him.
“Max is an incredible human too. His work ethic was second to none; his humility and personality mean you are always rooting for him,” said Campbell. “I’m made up for Max that he has earned himself the opportunity to play at NCFC and I’m not one bit surprised at the impact he is having.”
Playing under Campbell, Flick said, “it was a great experience” because Campbell gave such great support to him both tactically and also with his pursuit of playing professionally towards the highest levels. The combination of that support alongside Flick’s work ethic and adaptability have been key to his success at NCFC.
“He [Campbell] was always motivated to help me as much as he could,” said Flick. “He made the practices and everything as top-level as he could, and that was really nice.”
Photo Credit: North Carolina FC