Pass-n-Bone, Reno’s new playmaker

Tucker Bone arrives at Reno 1868 FC with an Air Force education and vision in the attack.

“Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win” is one of the slogans of the United States Air Force. A graduate of the Academy, Tucker Bone is bringing that mindset with him to Reno 1868 FC this season. “There were a few factors that played a role in my decision to attend the Academy. Initially, the interest came from an offer to play NCAA D1 soccer there,” Tucker Bone told BGN about becoming an Air Force Falcon. “During that recruiting process, my dad and uncle were both able to shed some light on the Air Force and the great opportunities it holds. Neither attended the Air Force Academy so I was headed into some uncharted waters not knowing exactly what to expect and if I had what it took. So far things have turned out alright.”

Bone was way better than alright for the Falcons on the soccer pitch. He scored 25 goals and tallied 22 assists in his AF career and was a two-time semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, college soccer’s biggest individual honor.

Discussing his commitment to the Air Force going forward, he said, “Right now I owe five years of active duty service, one of which I have already served. Currently, I am able to play profession as my job in the Air Force thanks to a special program commonly referred to as WCAP (world-class athlete program).”

Bone has taken a lot of his lessons learned at the Academy and applied them to soccer. “Discipline. There were a lot of times at the Air Force Academy that I had to do something I didn’t necessarily want to,” he stated about how his training at Air Force helps him on the pitch. “Early on, I learned to put aside my personal desires and do what had to be done to be successful. For me, this translated onto the field effortlessly. It was so ingrained in my day-to-day life that I started to do it on the field without realizing. This was one thing that set me apart when I was being scouted to play professional soccer.”

That professional career began in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft when Seattle Sounders FC selected the Tacoma native, but he never appeared for the club, likely due to the five years of active duty he owes. Instead, he joined Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC for the 2019 USL Championship season. Tucker Bone played 16 matches in his first pro season and scored one goal and tallied one assist. Those numbers are obviously a far cry from the production he had at Air Force. Now that he’s with Reno 1868 FC, he knows what he has to do to get back to being a gamechanger. “My plan is to be on the field more often like I was in college. I had so much experience in my four years at the Air Force Academy that performing in games was the norm and as a result, became easy,” he said. “As I get more and more experience at this level I will get back to doing the same.”

Bone also got the chance to experience his first professional offseason. He explained, “In the off-season, I was focused on staying healthy and fit/strong. On top of that a lot of work with the ball at my feet. It was something I always enjoyed growing up as a kid and that still has
not faded. I love to dribble around and juggle and try new tricks. They don’t always find their way into a game-like situation however I’d like to think they could.”

He will be flashing those skills on the ball this season at Greater Nevada Field. But, the decision to join the fourth-year USL side wasn’t an easy one. “At first, I wasn’t sure if Reno was the place for me. Having grown-up not too far from here (Granite Bay, CA), Reno was always a place I never wanted to go. Subconsciously I think that developed (a) negative opinion about this place,” Bone recalled. “I’m glad to say I’ve never been more wrong. The team, of course, has played a large role in why I like it so far but outside of that, I am definitely enjoying what the city has to offer. Being closer to home means having the family out for more games which means more free meals. I could never complain about that.”

Tucker Bone will look to feast on more than just free food this season. He and Reno 1868 FC will play on opening night this season as they travel to the Pacific Northwest to face Tacoma Defiance. Kick-off is set for 7 PM Pacific Time on March 6th.

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.