Soccer standout JoJo Schwerha could be leaving GCC for MLS academy
JoJo Schwerha may have played his last soccer game at Greensburg Central Catholic.
The incoming senior forward is spending two weeks training and essentially trying out for the D.C. United Major League Soccer program. He was a 19-under team invitee while playing for Beadling Soccer Club out of Pittsburgh and made the trip to Washington earlier this week.
Schwerha said he could choose to enroll at the D.C. United Academy, which means he would forego his final year at GCC and expedite the process of possibly turning professional. He could take classes online.
Of course, there are no guarantees, and the Charleroi resident knows the risks as well as he does the rewards.
“I have until Aug. 19 to make my final decision,” said Schwerha, a Tribune-Review all-star and All-WPIAL pick who had 13 goals and 14 assists last season for GCC, a WPIAL Class A quarterfinalist. “This is what I want to do. I have wanted to play pro soccer since I was 4 years old.”
The 14-day tryout consists of daily training, weightlifting, meetings and games against other MLS academy teams.
Should the process not match the speed at which it’s being pursued, Schwerha said he could be afforded a “gap” year, which would give him a break between high school and college.
He does not have any Division I offers but is confident his appearance in the academy could change that. This experience could open doors to other professional prospects, possibly even the USL where the Pittsburgh Riverhounds play.
Schwerha has played cup soccer since he was 13, bouncing around from Century United, to the Riverhounds to AFC, before settling in with Beadling. He played on a regional qualifier last season before the MLS preseason invite came along.
“There was a time when I didn’t feel like I was as good as I thought,” he said. “There were kids that were picked ahead of me I knew I was better than. That motivated me, but I didn’t give up.”
With coaches watching his every move to see if he is good enough to play at the highest level, Schwerha plans to plow forward with tunnel vision. He is past the romanticizing stage and ready to work.
“I have to go out every day and work harder than everyone else,” he said. “I am the hardest worker I have ever met.”