Kyle Murphy talks about winning Player of the Month, Memphis 901 FC’s playoff push

Following an accomplished college career at Clemson, which included an appearance in the 2015 College Cup Final, forward Kyle Murphy has played professionally for RGVFC, San Antonio FC, Loudoun United FC, Tampa Bay Rowdies, and now, he’s thriving with Memphis 901 FC.

After helping the Rowdies make it to the 2020 USL Championship Final, he signed with Memphis in the offseason. “I believed in  what Ben (Pirmann) and the clubs philosophies are,” Murphy told BGN. “At the core Memphis is about grit, hard work, and a never give in attitude.  And, I feel I show that in how I play.  I felt like I had an opportunity to have a big impact on the team here.”

His feelings were accurate as the New York native has been a star for 901 FC. He’s scored a club-high nine goals, tied for third in the league, and also has one assist. “I think I’ve been building every year and gaining experience,” he said. “I am confident in my ability and having Ben put his trust and confidence in me has allowed me to be at my best.”

With four of those goals coming in the month of July, Murphy was announced as the USL Championship Player of the Month, an honor he also received in October 2019. “Very happy to receive Player of the Month,” he said. “I always try to go out and help the team any way that I can and being recognized for that means a lot.”

“July was a great month at the club. It was the first time we went undefeated for a month in club history. It shows what we are working on is paying off. We have a lot of season left and need to keep at it and keep grinding.”

He’s also very humble in knowing how big of a role his teammates have in that individual success. “It’s always nice to be recognized for individual honors, and my teammates play a massive role in that,” Murphy said. “Some of the assists and service I get puts me in a great position to do what I do best.  It’s a whole team effort and without my teammates I wouldn’t be able to have those opportunities.”

In his multiple stops in the USL Championship, Murphy has featured as a winger and as a striker up top. He explained, “I am comfortable playing either wing or as a 9.  I prefer being the 9 and think I am at my best there.”

“Being able to play multiple positions is always good and I think it’s helped me add that aspect to my game as a 9 being able to feel comfortable in wide areas running into the channels and attacking from there,” Murphy added, pointing out his recent goal vs. Sporting KC II as an example.

Still only 28 years old with a lot of valuable experience and versatility on the pitch, does Murphy think he is just starting to enter his prime as a player? “I do,” he answered. “I think throughout my career I’ve been able to learn and add more and more to my game.  I have a lot of soccer left in me and feel I am really hitting my stride.”

While he’s having a good time on the pitch for Memphis, Murphy is also enjoying living in Bluff City a lot. “It is a cool city here with a lot of history and some really good barbeque,” he said.

Thus far, Bain BBQ is his go-to spot, where his preferred order is pulled pork, Memphis style. Kyle said, “I drove past their spot one day and there had to be 50 people sitting outside waiting before they opened so I knew it had to be good, and it definitely doesn’t disappoint.”

Another aspect that has not disappointed him during his stay in Memphis has been the fan support for 901 FC. “The fans are really awesome and create a great environment on game days,” he explained. “They are nonstop loud and cheering us on from warmups till after the game, it’s a lot of fun to play in front of them.”

Murphy and his Memphis teammates will get to play in front of that passionate crowd this weekend in a crucial home match vs. Birmingham Legion FC. Currently, Memphis occupies 6th on the Central Division table, but only two points separate them from third-place FC Tulsa. On how the club can make a push into a playoff position, 901 FC’s star forward said, “Some discipline issues have cost us some points.  Cleaning up things like that and closing out games better will help us moving forward the rest of the season.”

Carson A Merk

Reporting live from Sin City, I have covered both RGVFC and Las Vegas Lights FC since their inceptions. I also write profiles to highlight players from the NCAA to USL to NWSL and everywhere in between.