In February, 2015 Duncan McCormick ’14 was one of the first players to sign with the new Sounders FC 2. Duncan, who was recruited by soccer powerhouse Wake Forest, decided to delay college in hopes of making his dream of becoming a member of the Sounders FC come true. Duncan’s signing was a major step towards that goal.
How did your time at Seattle Academy prepare you for life as a professional athlete?
At Seattle Academy I was given flexibility and freedom that worked with my schedule and allowed me to play soccer at a high level while keeping my grades up. A couple times a month I would have to go out of town to play a game, in doing this I would miss a day of school, typically a Friday. My teachers at SAAS were aware of this and helped me work around the busy schedule that I had.
Could you briefly tell us about your previous club soccer experience while you were a student at SAAS and how that opened the doors to playing for Sounders FC2?
I played for the Sounders Academy, which is the Sounders youth team, while I was in high school at SAAS. I worked my way through the ranks within the system and by my junior year of high school I was training with the Sounders First Team whenever I got the opportunity. Given that they train in the morning, I would train with them on free weekends, during summers and during other school breaks. By my senior year I had enough credits where I could take free periods in the mornings and a couple classes in the afternoon. This way I was able to train with the Sounders in the morning, and then come back to school for a couple of my classes. These opportunities opened doors with Sounders and Sounders2 because they saw me as a player and eventually decided to sign me.
Who are some of the athletes and/or coaches who have inspired you? Why?
I have been fortunate enough to have been surrounded by a countless number of individuals who have inspired and helped me along my journey so far. However, there are a few that stand out. My Dad has been a role model of mine ever since I can remember. He was a very good soccer player and I aspire to have the career he had.
What made you pick the Sounders FC2 over college (Wake Forest?)? Will you still be eligible for the scholarship you were offered?
This is the question I get asked more than anything when being interviewed because it really is blinding for a lot of people. Wake Forest is a fantastic school and has one of the best soccer programs in the country. There is no doubt in my mind that it would have been a great place for me to develop as well as further my education. However, I was given an opportunity that does not come to many people. I was offered a contract directly out of high school. Although the other option was a good situation, I couldn't pass up on this opportunity. It has been my goal and a dream of mine to play professional soccer and the Sounders 2 path would help me excel my game much further than I would have at Wake Forest. Scholarship eligibility is changing every year. However, a new rule which has just been put into effect is that for every year you play professional sports you lose a year of college eligibility. Previously when you signed your first professional contract you were ineligible for NCAA. This new rule is very beneficial and gives me the security if I want to go back to school after one year or so.
What have been your biggest challenges since you signed with Sounders FC2?
Dealing with adversity is the biggest challenge that I have faced. I knew exactly what I was getting into, the professional sports industry is as cutthroat as it gets and picking yourself up after a bad training or bad game is one of the most difficult things to do. Considering your future is on the line, it's easy to put pressure on yourself. However, keeping your mentality strong is important and something I've been working on.
What has been the most enjoyable part of your new job?
Everything is enjoyable. However, some of the most enjoyable parts are waking up every morning to go do what I love. I feel blessed that I am able to wake up and go to training to improve and work on my passion, as well as being able to play in front of thousands of fans and being able to inspire kids when I go to appearances. Every day I go home with a smile.
Tell us about your team. What have you learned from your teammates?
My teammates are great guys. We all have the same drive and hunger to keep improving and compete day in and day out. Most of the guys are around 23 years old so at times it's hard to relate to them, but we are all on the team for one purpose and that bonds us together.
Describe your typical day now that you are playing for Sounders FC2.
We train every morning so a typical day would go something like this: Wake up at 6:30 am and get dressed and ready to head to practice. Around 8:30 am get to training and have breakfast with my team and get ready to train. From 9:30 am to noon we have training. After we shower and get changed we have a team lunch around 12:30. Once or twice a week we will have weights from 1:30 pm to 3 pm. After that we shower, change, and go home. I'm a property manager on the side to keep me busy and supplement my income so once I am home I have some emails and phone calls to take care of that take a couple of hours. After that it’s time for dinner and shortly after I am ready for bed. I try to go to bed as early as I can so my body can fully recover.
What are some of your interests and hobbies outside of playing soccer?
I love cooking. For some reason I love to spend a couple hours making a really good meal. It clears my mind and at the end of it all I have a delicious meal. Other than that, I like camping with my friends. Unfortunately I'm pretty busy and it’s hard to find a time when I have 2 days off but whenever that opportunity comes around I enjoy it!
Do you have plans for a career post soccer?
Yes. What exactly that may be I don't know. It’s something I try to not obsess myself over at the moment because I need to focus on soccer. However, I have one main idea. I got my Real Estate License about a month ago and am a property manager for four apartment buildings. The main reason that I do this is to give me some experience in the industry for something after soccer. I could become a real estate agent or a larger scale property manager down the road. As my career progresses, I plan on investing my money into real estate so when I'm done I have equity in real estate investments that can be managed and profitable.