Fort Lauderdale CF defender Noah Allen was named 2021 USL League One Young Player of the Year today. The 17-year-old Academy-registered left back shined in his first full season at the professional level, leading Fort Lauderdale with 2,430 minutes played en route to the recognition.
The Pembroke Pines, Florida native reflected on the honor, sharing what the recognition meant to him.
“It means everything,” said Allen. "I’m truly blessed to be named USL League One Young Player of the Year and to even get a shot to play for this team this year. Obviously, I wanted to take my experience and take my opportunity and I’m happy that I was able to get this award. It’s amazing.”
Allen’s growth as a young player was key to his success, as he made the full-time jump from the Academy level to a professional league.
“I think my defensive positioning was much better, and overall I think I’m a much better player now at multiple things on the field. Off the field, I think I was more professional because I was in a more professional environment,” said Neville.
One of the driving factors behind his growth was the coaching he received throughout the Inter Miami system, both at the Academy level and with Fort Lauderdale.
“Noah has continued to grow for the last couple of years, within the Academy and the U-17 team, then progressing into USL and obviously a couple of training opportunities with the First Team. You see his application each day, him wanting to get better, and I think that’s been one of the keys to his success this year and he’ll need to continue to do so,” said Fort Lauderdale CF head coach Darren Powell.
“It’s definitely made me grow so much as a player. Every single coach I’ve had has helped me with something,” added Allen. “I don’t think I would get this anywhere else.”
For Powell, Allen’s achievement sets the example for players within the Academy, and also serves as a reminder of the Club’s dedication to local youth talent and the pathway to the professional level.
“We’ve been fortunate with the ownership really investing in the youth development in South Florida and Noah’s been an example for all of the young players coming through in South Florida and within the Academy,” said Powell. “We want that integration from the First Team all the way down to the U-12s, and now obviously Noah has shown good characteristics on and off the field throughout his time here and then been able to make those progressive steps...He continues to progress and continues to work at his game, hopefully one day we’ll see him progress onto the First Team.”
Allen recently traveled with the First Team for its final match of the 2021 season, resulting in a 0-1 win over the New England Revolution. The young defender reflected on his trip, citing it as an inspiration.
“It’s inspired me so much because I got a taste of it, and that’s where I want to be. I had a great time overall, with everyone, the players and staff. It was an amazing experience to go watch the game, and especially a win,” said Allen.