Servania was unveiled as Legion FC's first USL Academy signing in February / Photo courtesy Birmingham Legion FC
In his first season competing at the professional level, 19-year-old Jaden Servania looks right at home. That could be because he is at home. A native of Birmingham, Alabama playing for Birmingham Legion FC, Servania made club history in February when he became the first player to join the team on a USL Academy contract.
Servania’s performances on the pitch this season are rewarding the Legion FC staff’s faith in him. In 16 appearances (six of which were starts), Servania tallied three goals and is passing the ball at a completion rate of about 80 percent.
“My first season as a professional has been interesting, to say the least,” said Servania. “The pandemic pushing the entire season back and causing games to be played back-to-back has been unique for many of the guys, as well as myself. Getting on the field and being able to help the squad with a couple goals and just working hard has been something I’ve always dreamt of, so this year has gone fairly well personally.”
In pursuit of a professional soccer career, Servania previously left his hometown to join the Houston Dynamo’s academy.
With Legion FC playing its first season in 2019 and beginning to build a youth development infrastructure, to be able to return home while continuing the pursuit of his goal was too good an opportunity to turn down.
“I think putting a young kid in a good environment allows him to grow as a player. It’s a two-step model for me,” said Legion FC Head Coach Tommy Soehn. “You learn the tactical part that the coach has instilled but also you learn by example. Some of the pros that we have are a great example for him.”
On the importance of learning from his elder peers, Servania agrees with his coach.
“One of the most valuable things I’ve learned as a young player is just to listen,” said Servania. “Listening to your coaches is important, but listening to your teammates is crucial, especially the older, more experienced guys.”
While his technical ability has impressed those at the club, so too has his demeanor.
“Jaden has a quiet confidence in how he carries himself in the locker room and on the field,” said Legion FC President and General Manager Jay Heaps at the start of the season. “He fits in extremely well with an older locker room and has an acute social awareness that makes him seem older.”
As Servania keeps training with and competing against professionals on a daily basis, all signs point to his continued improvement and a bright future ahead, not only for him but for other young players from Birmingham and the state of Alabama.
“I think it’s very important that the culture of the club is to develop from within our own city,” said Soehn. “Seeing the likes of Jaden and some others grown in that way should ideally be a stepping stone for other kids in the area to look to accomplish.”
To learn more about USL Academy contracts, visit www.usl-academy.com/contracts.