How Memphis 901 FC has become the best team in the USL Championship
Memphis 901 FC has become the best team in the USL Championship’s Eastern Division by tapping into their team’s internal motto: “high character and high energy.”
After being awarded to the city of Memphis in 2018 and having its inaugural season in 2019, the club leads the league with 28 points. Coach Ben Pirrman played a vital role in the team’s playoff appearance last year. Although the season is in its early stages, their new offensive tactics and intentional style of recruiting leave the club with high hopes.
Pirrman said before the season started, he was able to work closely with assistant coach Devin Rensing to recruit men that exemplified the team’s internal motto.
“We really push on that being our identity,” Pirrman said. “We want to have a selfless serving mantra. Then we want to keep getting a little bit better and better from the tactical and technical side of things.”
Before facing Birmingham Legion on June 8th, the team was on a five-game winning streak, the longest streak they have performed since their initial season.
The game plan Pirrman constructed for the club landed him in the position to win USL Championship Coach of the Month for May. Jeremy Kelly was named USL player of the month.
May was a flawless month for the team as they earned a 4-0-0 record in league play. The relationship between Memphis 901 FC and Pirrman started in December 2018 when he became an assistant coach. On April 8, 2021, Pirrman was promoted.
Memphis 901 FC’s ability to display leadership as defined, to get all their players involved on the field. Head into games with high intensity that usually ends in early points and strategic recruiting of experienced players has the club sitting comfortably in the top spot.
When recruiting, Pirrman looks to see if a player checks off all four of his boxes: athleticism, balance, emotionally engaging and truly enjoys playing soccer.
“It’s a 10-month long season,” Pirrman said. “We want them to enjoy football. We want them to enjoy representing 901 FC and I think we’ve got a good group of young men that enjoy doing that.”
The club has shown they have multiple players capable of sharing the load and stepping up in their respective positions. During their match against Atlanta United II, four team members contributed to their five goals.
“Everybody on this team is willing to go through a wall for each other,” Memphis 901 FC forward Phillip Goodrum said. “I think that’s what makes this group special and the level of camaraderie that we have here. Everybody is 100% and there’s no guys that are on the fence or are selfish.”
Alexis Davis is a sports reporting intern for the Memphis Commerical Appeal. Contact her at [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Memphis 901 FC is first in USL Championship rankings