New England Revolution

Mar 18, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Revolution midfielder Noel Buck (29) passes the ball during the first half against the Nashville SC at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Noel Buck joined the New England Revolution Academy as a 12-year-old five years ago. Buck, now less than a month shy of his 18th birthday, has ascended through the club’s professional pathway while hitting his stride at all levels. The Arlington, Mass. native, now in his second pro season, only recently received his driver’s license, but is poised to feature in New England’s Starting XI for the fifth consecutive game on Saturday night when the Revolution visit D.C. United in the nation’s capital at Audi Field.

The midfielder spoke with DJ Bean on the Soccer Show about balancing his responsibilities as a full-time athlete while being three months away from graduating high school.

“I try to get the best of both worlds,” Buck said. “I try to see my friends as much as I can and I try to do as many 17-year-old things as I can. I also have to do a job, which is play soccer.

“I still have to get my high school diploma. I think I have three months left, but there’s zero motivation to go home and do some math.”

Buck made his MLS debut for New England in 2022 and netted his first MLS goal in the match. That early success can go to a kid’s head, but Buck has made it a point to stay grounded and enjoy the journey. Both on and off the field, the teenager knows he has a long road ahead of him.

“I have other things to look forward to. One of those things is getting older, you know? I get more experience, be able to have more fun, because I can be myself a bit more,” Buck said. “It’s sometimes difficult being a young kid and trying to be yourself.”

Having spent over five years within the Revolution organization, Buck has excelled at every step in the path to becoming a first-team regular. He advanced through the Revolution Academy and showed enough potential to earn minutes with New England’s reserve team. By the time he stepped on an MLS field for the first time, Buck had more than 60 professional appearances with Revolution II under his belt.

“Well, I think it’s pretty cool, especially playing at a young age at the highest level with the Revs Academy. It’s always just a grind,” Buck said of rising through the club. “I’m a professional now, but I still had to do the same thing when I was 12, 13. You still have to get better, you still have to practice every day, and now I’m more at a professional level, so it’s a bit more pressure, but coming up through the Academy and the second team was just really fun.”

Buck acknowledged that playing overseas and building an international career could be aspirations ahead of him in the future. But for now, he’s focused on continuing to mold his role in New England’s midfield and helping the Revolution add to their strong 3-1-0 start this season.

“You have to live in the moment. I can’t get too ahead of myself, otherwise I’ll play like I’m thinking about something after. … You can’t be thinking about something else,” Buck said. “You have to be thinking about, ‘ What am I going to do right now so I can impact the game?’

‘I think it’s really important to stay in the present because that’s how you improve.”

Saturday’s match between the Revolution and D.C. United kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET and is available to watch free on the Apple TV app, or listen on 98.5 The Sports Hub.