‘I think I could turn a lot of heads, open a lot of eyes’ - Meet Auston Trusty, the Arsenal defender on loan with Birmingham City

The Arsenal centre-back joined Birmingham City on a season-long loan and is hoping to ‘turn a lot of heads’ during his time in the West Midlands.

West Philadelphia, born and raised, playing football in the back garden is where Auston Trusty spent most of his days.

The young centre-back, currently on loan with Birmingham City from Premier League side Arsenal, was always destined to become an elite athlete.

He’s the youngest of six and all of those siblings before him have become, in his words, a ‘superstar’ in their sports.

His family is made up of basketball players, track and field athletes, lacrosse players - and whilst they are some of the more traditional sports over in the USA, none of them were for Trusty. He was more interested in football - the European kind.

It’s taken a lot of work to get where he is today and that’s made even more impressive considering he put a lot of that work in on his own.

His friends only ever wanted to play basketball or American football and getting them to play football/soccer with him was ‘impossible,’ he recalls.

He’d often bargain with his brother, the one closest to his age who played lacrosse, to get in the garden and kick a ball around with him.

“I’d play that with him if he played my sport with me,” he says. “That’s how I trained when I was younger.”

And whilst he’ll forever be thankful for that - it may be his big sister, Onnie Nicholson, that he holds most of the thanks to - as it was her that proved vital in him initially falling in love with the beautiful game. Well, her and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

“So my sister, I grew up watching her,” Trusty explains.

“She was a part of the national team. I was a ball boy at some of her games and I loved it. I remember her travelling all around the world going to all of these places and I thought ‘wow, I really want to do that.’

“Also the South Africa World Cup. Watching that cemented the love of the game for me. The song, ‘give me freedom,’ the songs and everything. The environment for me just looked amazing.”

And once he’d put his mind to it there was no stopping him.

Trusty joined two soccer schools in high school following this period, one in his junior year before heading to IMG academy in Florida.

He then returned to his hometown to link up with Philadelphia Union, where he turned professional at 17-years-old.

“I started pro at 17,” he says. “The day before school started, I called my coach and told him that I wasn’t going.”

“He still hasn’t talked to me to the day. I haven’t talked to him since.”

His coach may still be harbouring some bitterness about the fact he chose a career away from school but all Trusty has done since is prove that it was the right decision.

After impressing in the MLS with his hometown club Philadelphia Union and more recently Colorado Rapids, the now 23-year-old was rewarded with a permanent move to Arsenal in January 2022.

Although he returned instantly to Colorado on loan and then this summer linked up with Blues, he knows that this year in particular, in England’s second tier, is a chance for him to prove he can cut it at the very highest level with the Gunners.

The centre-back also has one eye on this summer’s World Cup. He’s been capped at all youth levels with the USA but is yet to receive a call up to the men’s first team - something he’s hoping to change over the next few months.

“Of course, if I come here and do my job and do my thing, that can prove a lot,” he notes in regards to his international ambitions.

“Playing MLS, and doing well there, you get some respect and get noticed a little bit more but if I come here and play my game like I can, I think I could turn a lot of heads, open a lot of eyes.

“There is obviously history between the US and England. If you look at English football, it’s the gold standard.”

If it isn’t already obvious, one thing Birmingham fans will love about their new man is his attitude.

Due to the crossover in calendars between the UK and USA, Trusty has already played 15 games this season but he isn’t crying out for a break, he’s crying out for more football.

“Like coming here, I had three days off,” he says.

“So last year we [MLS] ended on Thanksgiving, then I went with the national team. I had about a week and half off. That’s in the last year and a half.

“My mindset is go until I drop man! They know how much I have played recently and my body, too, and Arsenal are in contact too, talking to them all the time about management. This pre-season has been more tapered down to pre-season games. But the staff here have been looking after my body.”

Trusty is in line to make his English football debut when Birmingham City take on Luton Town at Kenilworth Road on Saturday.

“Im so excited to be here,” he adds.

“Leaving my country, it’s a transition for me, but it’s also good for the growth of my game and personal life. I’m just looking forward all around.”