Born and raised in Montreal, Noah Eisenberg is the first Canadian to sign a contract with a professional soccer team in Wales. The 22-year-old will be playing for Llangefni Town FC as a centre attacking midfielder. The club was promoted to the Welsh second division in 2018 and currently has one of the youngest squads in the league.
Eisenberg has wanted to be a professional soccer player since he was young. His parents enrolled him in a soccer club when he was only three years old, and he has been playing competitively ever since.
“As a career, it is [all] I ever wanted to do,” Eisenberg said in an interview with The McGill Tribune.
At 17 years old, Eisenberg received a scholarship to attend Tilton School, a college-preparatory school in New Hampshire, where he was exposed to opportunities that helped his professional career trajectory. He played in the United States for three years before a chance to play in Europe came up. After moving to Europe, he spent time training in Belgium with First Division club Waasland-Beveren, and in Northern Ireland with the Derriaghy FC and Lurgan Celtic. Eisenberg noted key differences between soccer in Europe and North America.
“Europe is on another level [in] the way they play, the system, the way the academy feeds into the main team,” Eisenberg said. “I had never experienced anything like this [.…] I decided not to go back [to the United States].”
Even between countries within Europe, Eisenberg found notable variation in playing style.
“Every country has a different style [….] In Belgium, it was super technical and tactical [….] Northern Ireland was a very physical test. The players were like rugby players,” Eisenberg said.
Eisenberg is currently in Wales, but he has not been able to play a game for Llangefni Town FC due to the temporary suspension of the season during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The season hasn’t been announced yet,” Eisenberg said. “This is terrible [for the teams] as they make all their money on spectators. There are [usually] derbies of 3,000 people in the games.”
Although there is uncertainty about the coming season, Eisenberg is still looking forward to playing in friendly matches over the next few weeks. On Sept. 13, Llangefni Town FC lost their match against a rival club, Bangor City FC. They will be looking forward to the rematch on Jan. 18.
For inspiration, Eisenberg looks up to David Beckham, a retired English soccer player, as well as Alphonso Davies, a young Canadian soccer sensation in Europe.
“[Like Beckham], shooting is my forte,” Eisenberg said. “I have a great shot. I can shoot from pretty much anywhere. [Alphonso Davies] is an amazing player. He has really made it for himself. To be a Canadian and to go and play in Europe is incredible.”
Although Eisenberg is currently playing in Europe, he believes that soccer in Canada has an exciting future. In order to co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, FIFA required that Canada have a domestic professional soccer league. Thus, The Canadian Premier League was founded in 2017, with the first season played in 2019.
“They averaged 7,000 in the games,” Eisenberg said. “It was teams like Hamilton, Halifax, and York. This league is a good opportunity for Canadians. It’s a league I would love to play in too.”
However, Eisenberg believes that for now, Europe provides a better platform than Canada for starting one’s career as a professional soccer player.
“For the average Canadian [soccer player, they have] to come to Europe,” Eisenberg said. “In Canada, [soccer] is an activity, and Europe, it’s a culture.”