From the time Santa Clarita native Marcus Ferkranus was 5 years old, he’s been working to accomplish his dream of becoming a professional soccer player.
Since then, the now 17-year-old has been hard at work, putting in countless hours of time and dedication that have recently come to fruition: The L.A. Galaxy announced recently Ferkranus signed with the club’s first team.
“I realized early that my dream was to play professional soccer, so every chance I had to take it to the next level, I took it, and I feel like I succeeded with that, and eventually it led me to play with the L.A. Galaxy,” Ferkranus said.
Putting in the work
At 5, Ferkranus picked up his first soccer ball and was hooked.
“We lived in Australia for a little while … and my father-in-law, which is (Marcus’) grandfather, was his first coach,” said Markus’ father, Tony Ferkranus.
Ferkranus has been playing ever since, which really picked up when Marcus returned to Santa Clarita, according to Tony.
After a couple of years playing with the SCV Magic, Ferkranus was recruited by Real So Cal to play club soccer, soon after being scouted to go to the Real So Cal Academy.
“I’ve just always loved soccer and been wanting to pursue it, so once I got the chance to play (in an) academy, I took the opportunity,” he said.
After a season with Real So Cal, Ferkranus was again scouted, this time by the LA Galaxy Academy, where he accumulated nearly 50 appearances for the Galaxy’s various teams.
Ferkranus attended Saugus High School for a year before he entered the L.A. Galaxy Academy’s schooling program.
“We’d be there from around 8 or 9 in the morning to 3 or 4 in the afternoon, starting with practice, showering and then having lunch and then eventually going to school for a few hours afterwards,” he said.
Since joining the academy, soccer’s become an almost daily activity, with practice five days a week at the academy in Carson and games on the weekends.
“We have put on many, many miles driving him around, but it’s a sacrifice that, as a parent, you’re happy to make because when he works this hard, you can see the payoff, and it’s just awesome, so the sacrifice has been definitely rewarding for us,” Tony said.
Meanwhile, Ferkranus began working his way up through the academy’s teams, going from the U15 to U-16/17, then U-18/19 squad before he made his professional debut last year in the USL Championship with L.A. Galaxy II team.
It was as he quickly progressed through those teams that Ferkranus and his family began to realize he was headed in the right direction.
“All my coaches just recognized the talent I had and I feel like I’ve always been a hard worker,” he said, adding that it was those coaches, along with his family, that he attributes to his success. “At the L.A. Galaxy Academy, they have a lot of support and coaches that really care about you and invest in you. My family as well has been super supportive … just sacrificing a lot of time to help me pursue my dream.”
Staying humble through it all
Ferkranus has always been a center defender, a position that he, being more than 6 feet tall, said is optimal for him.
“A big part is my size and strength. Being as tall and strong as I am, I think the best position for me has always been centerback, and it’s always been the position I’ve done best at,” he said. “I think all the coaches I’ve been with have realized that I’m a natural defender, and I just loved the position ever since.”
Galaxy Coach Matt Tutton agreed, adding that while going through a growth spurt could’ve been a challenge for some players, for Ferkranus, it was something he took with stride.
“Marcus has done really well adjusting to his body, and I think that’s a testament just to his attitude,” Tutton said.
In fact, since Tutton met Ferkranus a couple of years ago, it’s been his attitude that’s shown through.
“Right away, you could just tell Marcus was just a solid, good individual, with a good head on his shoulders,” Tutton added. “He was humble, polite, sincere, and those things, to me, right out of the gate are not always easy to find … so that was a refreshing first impression, and that’s really held true since I began to coach him.”
“Marcus is a talented prospect who we have seen progress as a player during his time with our Academy and with LA Galaxy II,” LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese said in a prepared statement. “It is vital that we continue to invest in our youth players and prioritize their growth professionally. We are excited that Marcus will remain with our club as he continues to develop.”
While Ferkranus isn’t necessarily new to the professional environment after getting to spend time with the LA Galaxy II team, he recognizes the effort he’ll need to put in.
“I’m just working hard and trying to try to do my best,” he said. “There’s definitely nerves as well being with the big guys and having to up my game to match their level, but I feel like it’s something that I’m capable of, and I just work my hardest every practice and try to compete with them as best I can.”
Tutton has high hopes for Ferkranus, and believes he will be able to withstand the competitive environment he’s now in.
“It looks clear that Marcus is one of the top players at his age in the country,” Tutton added, “and I think if he continues the work ethic and just stays true to himself, a lot of doors are going to continue to open.”