There was little doubt in Brian Martin's mind, when he first encountered Adam Lundegard on a soccer field, that the young player had a bright future ahead.
“Some players you just know,” said Martin, co-head boys soccer coach at The Calverton School and former assistant coach on the Huntingtown boys soccer team, who five years ago started up the Bermuda Brazilian Soccer Camp that has been run at Huntingtown. “You always tell kids 'You're going to get better by working on things yourself.' This was a guy that the first year he came to [the Bermuda] camp he could juggle probably 100, keep the ball up in the air. The second year he came to camp he was up to 1,000. He really is one of those guys that really gets it and his dedication, he knows how to push himself and motivate himself. It makes it easy for a coach.”
Lundegard, who just finished the school year as a Huntingtown sophomore and does not turn 16 until August, made his professional debut last Saturday in Louisville playing as a member of the Loudoun United in a United Soccer League game against Louisville City FC in front of over 8,000 people at Louisville Slugger Field. He started and played close to 45 minutes in the United's 2-1 loss.
The experience was a far cry from playing on the high school fields in Southern Maryland as a freshman in the fall of 2017.
“I was just really happy to get my first start, especially on a good occasion like that with a great team that we were playing against and the great guys I was playing with. We were playing Louisville City FC, and they're the two-time defending champion of USL,” Lundegard said. “There were about 8,000 people there. It was a really great atmosphere. They had drums, great fans.
“It was just really good to get my first start, get my first professional experience under my belt and at such young age, too. It was just surreal to walk out there, walked out there with a little kid and a mascot. Had like 8,000 fans singing the national anthem, chanting. It was really surreal. It was like living a dream.”
Lundegard, who played just his freshman season at Huntingtown before moving on to the D.C. United Academy for this school year, made the transition from the academy to making his pro debut with the D.C. united affiliate rather rapidly.
“Loudoun United was a project through D.C. United just to really link the first team and the academy together,” Lundegard said. “Then my academy coach [Ryan Martin] actually got the job recently for the head coach of Loudoun United, in the USL. He's a big supporter of me, so when he got the job he thought it was a great opportunity for me to get my first professional experience. ... It was really sudden. I got called up and he was like, 'Can you go on a trip next week?' I got the start in my second game.”
While playing for the academy, Lundegard switched positions and now plays defense, and started at left back in Louisville. While the role is different than what he had played previously, Brian Martin believes the former Huntingtown player can excel in whatever role he is given.
“Where he's playing now, he's never played in the back before. He was always in the attacking side of things,” Martin said. “He's so smart and adaptable that you can basically put him anywhere on the pitch and he will succeed.”
The Loudoun United are set to play host to the Indy Eleven at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Audi Field in Washington, D.C., home of the D.C. United, though Lundegard will not be with the team. He does expect to be with the team thereafter.
The atmosphere and sheer number of people in Louisville was unlike anything Lundegard had previously experienced.
“I was talking to some friends and really the biggest occasion I'd played in was like a Northern-Huntingtown game,” he said. “Then I jumped into a professional setting and it was kind of crazy.”
Lundegard had been afforded some opportunities in the past through connections at the Bermuda camp, which will be held this year July 22 to 26 and will again feature Clyde Best, who starred during his playing days on West Ham United.
Last summer, Lundegard was able to train at West Ham United Academy. This year, he has been able to work with some younger players, and again plans to be back at the Bermuda camp, though he will not be there in a playing capacity this time around.
“I coached for the CSA Academy, the younger kids, this year,” Lundegard said. “I can't play in the Bermuda camp this year, but I plan on coaching for the afternoon. ... It's a great camp.”