Lights FC midfielder James Murphy fights for possession during a 2-2 draw with Tulsa Roughnecks FC on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (PHOTO: Tulsa Roughnecks FC)
Midfielder James Murphy
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As the youngest of Las Vegas Lights FC’s midseason acquisitions, it didn’t take long for 20-year-old midfielder James Murphy to make an impact.
On June 24, just days after joining the club, Murphy checked in as a second half sub in the club’s match on the road against Swope Park Rangers. Entering with his team trailing 3-1, he helped spark a furious late rally, with a beautiful feed from midfield to a streaking Sammy Ochoa in the final minutes. Ochoa buried his attempt in the back of the net, but the club couldn’t quite complete the comeback, heading home with a 3-2 loss.
But Murphy had made a statement with his aggressive, confident play in just a few minutes on the pitch that day, then earned a start a week later in a 2-2 draw on the road at Tulsa Roughnecks FC.
Now, Murphy, who is on loan from Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Football Club, is preparing for his Cashman Field debut Saturday night, when Lights FC hosts Saint Louis FC at 8 p.m.
A member of the U-20 United States Men’s National Team during a decorated amateur career, the start of his professional life has seen him play in England, in LA and now in Las Vegas. As the wild ride at the onset of his pro career continues, Murphy took a few minutes to talk about his experiences so far at his latest stop.
Q: You’ve been here for a couple of weeks now, and played in two matches with Lights FC. What’s been your overall impressions so far of your early experience here?
A: “Right from the get go, I could tell that the mentality here with the coaches and the players is just to win, win at all costs. That’s the message. We want to be a team that’s in the playoffs at the end of the season – That’s the message I’ve gotten. I can see it from everyone here.”
Q: Being loaned to a team in the middle of the season, it has to be nice to show up somewhere where that is that sense of urgency, and there’s a will to win.
A: “Oh yeah. If that wasn’t the mentality of this team, I don’t think I would be here. You don’t want to be with a team that’s given up, because that’s not my mentality and that’s not where I want to be. We want to win, we want to push hard every game to win.”
Q: Your first game with the team, you subbed in and recorded an assist almost right away. That had to feel pretty good to contribute right away. Do you feel you’ve already made a quick impression on the coaching staff?
A: “I hope so. I’m very confident in my ability and know what I’m capable of. I’m here to put that on display for these coaches, and for anyone who hasn’t seen me. I want to show what I can do and help the team win. Unfortunately against Swope Park, we didn’t get a result from it, but it was just a glimpse of what I can do, and what I’m going to do in my time here.”
Q: What made the opportunity here in Las Vegas attractive to you?
A: “I think it was the fact that Las Vegas came to LA and said ‘This is a guy we picked out, this is a guy we want on our team.’ They made it clear that they wanted me to come play. That was the message I needed. I needed to go somewhere where I could play and showcase my ability. When I got the message from them, I thought it was a great opportunity.”
Q: This weekend, you get to play at Cashman Field for the first time. What have you seen from afar, and what are you expecting?
A: “From afar, through social media and stuff, I’ve seen that people show out for these games, and there’s a real good culture for the game here. They love having a team in Las Vegas, and I hope to show out this weekend so I can experience all of it.”
Q: Has there been a culture shock being in Las Vegas so far?
A: “There’s a heat shock, I can tell you that much. But honestly, I’m ready for any sort of changes that come my way. Going from where I was in England to Los Angeles, it was a big change, but I took it in stride. I had the same approach here, and I’m ready for anything that comes my way.”
Q: Lastly, for fans who haven’t seen you yet, how do you describe your game and what can they expect to see from you the rest of the 2018 season?
A: “I think first and foremost, I’m a winner. I love to compete, I love to win. They’ll see me give everything I have every play for this team. On the ball, I pass first, I make things happen, I pick passes out that I think other people can’t see. That’s what I pride myself on. That’s what they’ll see from me, that’s what I’m going to bring.”