Bethlehem Steel FC announced today that the club has signed midfielder AJ Paterson to his first professional contract. The move is pending league and federation approval.
“It’s an amazing feeling to achieve a lifelong goal from day one and I’m eager to get started as a professional with Steel FC,” Paterson said. “I think being drafted by another club and being let go really lit a fire underneath me because it showed me the level that I have to be at as a professional. I wasn’t at that level at that time but I feel this opportunity will give me the best chance to show that I can achieve that next step as a professional and maybe even more.”
“AJ brings versatility and size and he showed in college the ability to fill up the box-to-box role by eating up ground,” Bethlehem Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “He has a defensive presence and is good in the air plus adding a left-footed player is always useful to a squad.”
Selected in the second round of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft by New York City FC, Paterson joined Steel FC as a trialist the second week of the club’s preseason. A native of Key Largo, Fla., Paterson spent the last four seasons at Wright State where he shined. He appeared in 76 matches during his time with the Raiders, scoring 15 total goals and adding seven assists. Paterson had a breakout season in 2017, scoring seven goals as he was named the Horizon League Player of the Year. In addition to All-League First Team honors his senior season, Paterson was named to the All-Horizon League second team and All-Tournament squad in 2016.
Paterson also spent time in the Premier Development League, spending the summer of 2016 with Southwest Florida Adrenaline. In 10 matches with the club, he scored twice on seven shots while gaining 895 minutes of valuable experience.
Paterson and Steel FC return to action this week with busy slate of matches including USL-rival Penn FC on Wednesday, February 21, and Syracuse on Saturday, February 24. Both matches will be free and open to the public at YSC Sports in Wayne, Pa. All matches are in preparation for Steel FC’s USL regular season opener against the Richmond Kickers on Sunday, March 18. Kick off from Goodman Stadium on the campus of Lehigh University is scheduled for 2 p.m.
TRANSACTION: Bethlehem Steel FC sign midfielder AJ Paterson on February 19, 2018.
Name: AJ Paterson
Born: January 31, 1996
Hometown: Key Largo, Florida
Citizenship: United States
Previous Experience: Wright State (2014-2017)
Acquired: Bethlehem Steel FC sign midfielder AJ Paterson on February 19, 2018.