Memphis’ Midfield Maestro

When most kids get into soccer, they either want to be the goalscorer or sometimes the goalkeeper. But, there are the rare breeds that would rather set up their teammates to score than find the net themselves. Memphis 901 FC midfielder Adam Najem is one of those unique individuals. “I started playing as a playmaker early on, even in my youth days I was wearing the No. 10,” Najems recalled. “Ever since that point, I knew what type of player I wanted to be. Watching players like Zidane, Dennis Bergkamp, and Ronaldinho, the joy they brought to the game really resonated with me.”

After developing his ability to assist as a youth player, Adam took his talents to the University of Akron. Hailing from that area myself, we share a mutual love for Swenson’s, the best burger in the country according to me. When describing his time at the collegiate soccer powerhouse, Najem said, “Going into college, everybody thinks they are mentally and physically ready for the pro level. Akron helped me get to the pro level and helped me develop mentally, physically, and technically.”

“I trained and played with a lot of great players. My college career was very important to where I’m at today and Akron is one of the best schools in the country to go to.”

While Adam was racking up accolades as an Akron Zip, his older brother, David, was taking the first steps in his professional soccer journey. Now, the Najem brothers both play in USL Championship, with the elder playing for Tampa Bay Rowdies. “Everything I’ve done in my life is a credit to him,” Adam said in regards to David. “He has been my role model ever since I can remember. It’s amazing to see all the hard work he’s put in to get back to full fitness. I’m excited to see him show the rest of the league how good of a player he really is.”

901 FC’s Najem has already started seven matches this season and leads the club with 11 chances created, adding a goal as well. Unfortunately, Memphis is off to a rough start with only one win from nine matches. When asked how to turn things around, Najem answered, “It’s continuing to build chemistry and continuity in the team. It’s a new organization and there’ll be some growing pains. But as long as we stick with it, the results will come. Internally, we know how good of a team we are.”

Not only has Adam enjoyed a promising club career since leaving Akron, but he’s also featured for the Afghanistan national team. “Representing any country is truly an honor. Being able to play at that level is a big accomplishment for myself and my family,” he said.

As this USL Championship season continues on, expect Najem to help get 901 FC back on track with his dazzling distribution in the midfield. The club faces Birmingham Legion FC on Saturday and will be looking for their first-ever home victory.



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.