Located in Northeast Philadelphia is a small section called Fishtown. The section is home to Fishtown Athletic Club, a youth soccer club that has developed top teams and players throughout the years. One of the clubs most special teams was Fishtown AC Hotspurs 2004 Boys. In Fall 2014, the squad competed in the EDP League U11 top division, and won all eight of their games scoring 41 goals and only giving up 13.
Two of the stars from that team were Brandan Craig and Quinn Sullivan. Now, at 16 years old both boys are playing for Philadelphia Union II. In July 2020, both boys were called up from the clubs Academy program to begin training with the clubs USL side, and were quickly inserted into the team. On August 1, 2020, both players made their first start for the side in the match against Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Brandan Craig made his debut on July 22, 2020 against New York Red Bulls II, and has since made several appearances in the last two months. In April of 2019, Craig was called up to the U15 US Youth National Team following his impressive performance at Generation Adidas Cup, and was the lone player from the Union Academy to get called up. The trip to Italy saw him team up with another former EDP standout, Kenan Hot. Craig was also named to the 2019 United Soccer Coaches Youth Boys All-Region team.
Craig stated, “I think that Fishtown set me up perfectly to become the best soccer player I could be. If it wasn’t for my coaches and teammates at Fishtown, I don’t know where I’d be right now. All of them deserve a shout out for how hard they pushed me day in and day out. It was a true honor to be a part of that club and I hope that the club continues to produce quality young players. I will still remember my Fishtown team forever and never forget where you came from.”
Quinn Sullivan made his debut a few days before Craig on July 18, 2020. Soccer runs in the Sullivan family, and has deep ties to the Philadelphia area. as his grandfather Larry Sullivan was the Men’s Soccer Coach at Villanova University from 1991-2007. His mother was a Division 1 soccer player, his father played professionally and his cousin is former US National Team player Chris Albright. Now, Quinn is making a name for himself as one of the Union’s bright young stars. In 2018-2019, he scored 19 goals in 20 games for the clubs U15 Academy team.
Sullivan stated, “I realize I am still young, but I get nostalgic when I think back to my Fishtown Hotspurs days. We were a super competitive team under coaches Bobby Mulvenna and Joey Reteneller, but we were also a small team out of a small club who played out of a playground in the inner city. Most of our teammates lived within a ten mile radius of that playground. We had a ton of early success, but our coaches realized some of that was fool’s gold, and that we needed to expand our competition pool. Therefore the EDP league was a logical next step. It offered tons of competitive matches for us against teams from a wider range of places. One such team was Coach Abbey’s Pittsgrove team which was a rural version of us!! Our home field at Shissler Recreation Center (Newt’s to us locals) was cut in half by a baseball field, so one particularly vivid memory of mine was the first time my teammates and I laid eyes on Tuckahoe Turf Farm. We had never seen so much lush green connected to itself; it was astonishing. Playing for Fishtown was an amazing experience for me, and a key aspect to my development and I will always cherish it.”
For the 2020-2021 season, the boys are rostered with the clubs U17 Academy team, but will continue to train and see time with the clubs USL side. With european interest growing for current Union stars and former EDP players Mark McKenzie and Brendan Aaronson, Craig and Sullivan are ready to be the next wave of homegrown talent to make a splash in the first team.