Connect with us

Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Nate Dragisich unbothered by ‘pressure’ as Riverhounds academy graduate takes his next steps

Pittsburgh Riverhounds academy graduate Nate Dragisich’s arrival to the first team might have come at a good time for him and the team, but he knows the hard work is far from over. 

Last week marked a very momentous occasion for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds as an organization, as for the very first time, a former member of their academy system was signed to a pro-deal. A member of the academy from 2014-2018, Nate Dragisich ensured that when his time as a youngster came to an end, his talents wouldn’t be out of sight for the senior team after playing his college ball at Duquesne.

But just what does it mean to be the first man to go through that path and make the break into the first team after spending your days there as a youngster, and what is it like coming into a team that is just coming off the back of a historic season? 

Pittsburgh Soccer Now sat down with Dragisich after the team’s training session on Thursday to get the West Allegheny High School alum’s thoughts on his move to the Hounds and what we can expect to see from him as he tries to crack a very talented team: 

Pittsburgh Soccer Now: Nate, first of all, congratulations. Obviously, you knew what was happening before the announcement went public, but when you were told by the team that they were picking you up, what did that feel like? 

Nate Dragisich: I mean it was really a relief mostly because I’d been here for three weeks at that point when I found out. Just having the uncertainty going into every day, not knowing what’s going to be the future, will I sign or not, so I think relief was the biggest feeling and then just excitement that all the hard work paid off.

PSN: Would you say there’s any sort of extra pressure on you now that you’re the ‘trailblazer’ for lack of a better term, now that you’ve probably got other youngsters in the academy looking up to you and seeing that this is a path that they can forge for themselves? 

ND: I mean, I guess there is some extra pressure from other people, but I just know for myself, I don’t want to have that on me, I don’t think the added pressure is necessary for my game and I just need to be myself coming to training everyday, do what I know how to do, do my job, do what I know how to do and just play as I’ve always played.

PSN: The Riverhounds are in a pretty good place at the moment after the success of last year, do you feel that you’re joining them at the right time? You’d probably much rather be a part of this team rather than having to drag a team up from the bottom?

ND: Of course, coming into an organization now that in the past few years have only been going in an upward trend, all the players here are high-quality players, it only makes me a better player to be able to play with them and just to learn from them. And from a good coaching standpoint, the head coach has been here for a long time. 

So yeah, I think this is a great time to join. As I’ve said already, they’ve been only going up in the past few years and just being with the players of high quality helps me get better every day.

PSN: You spoke there about high-quality players and who you’re working with, how close do you think you are to surpassing them and making that break into the first team? 

ND: I’m playing with players that are at a high standard and high quality that can only make you better. They make me have to step up every day to improve on my game and that’s only a good thing. I’m just taking it one day at a time, I know my job coming in as a rookie, is to not really put too much pressure on myself even if I don’t see too much game time at the start, I just know to do my job every day and as opportunities present themselves to make the most of them.

Glory on the Grass

PSN’s Featured Community Partner: Open Field International

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

Subscribe to PGH Soccer Now

Enter your email address to subscribe to PGH Soccer Now and receive notifications of new posts by email.

More in Pittsburgh Riverhounds