Celtic’s California Kid

California bhoy Cameron Harper takes the ball downfield during a recent match in Scotland.

Reading today’s report on Celtic’s 4-2 victory over Morton in the Reserve Cup at Lennoxtown, you see the usual suspects getting accolades: New signing Jonathan Afolabi hits the mark at the 19th minute, Armstrong Oko-Flex successfully coverts a penalty kick at 37 minutes, and Karamoko Dembele comes on in the second half to add to the score late in the game.

What’s buried a few paragraphs down in the report is a goal at the 51-minute mark by winger Cameron Harper, the Sacramento-born, Southern California-raised 17-year-old who wears the Hoops for the Reserves.

According to the Celtic FC report, Harper took a pass from Liam Burt, took a touch, and then drove a shot that went in off the post (you can see the goal on the YouTube highlights starting around 1:48).

Or as it was relayed by the Celtic FC Academy Twitter:

51’ – HARPER!


“Harper is traditional winger who is right-footed but comfortable with his left and doesn’t have a preference for a side of the field,” writes Brian Sciaretta in an article earlier this month in American Soccer Now. “He likes to play out wide, get into 1-on-1 situations against defenders, make runs, cut inside for shots, or stay out wide to hit crosses. Like many in his age-group, he is confident like those in recent cycles.”

Harper played for the celebrated Pateadores Soccer Club in Costa Mesa, California. His play at Pateadores drew the attention of the U-16 team, according to the ASN article.

“It was with the U-16 team at the 2016 IMG Cup where he drew the attention of a Celtic scout who arranged for a trial later in 2017,” the ASN article continues. “Celtic were impressed by Harper on trial and he eventually joined the club.”

While Harper has a bright future ahead as he laces them up for Celtic and the U.S. U-21 team, it makes this Californian proud to see a kid from the Golden State making headway at the club. Harper definitely needs to stay on everyone’s radar going forward.

[82 degrees. Wildfire threat level today in rural Santa Cruz County: Moderate.]

7 thoughts on “Celtic’s California Kid”

  1. With a population close to 300 million, there is a genuine chance that America is going to be a goldmine for European clubs in future.

    Clubs like Celtic have to act quickly and develop a serious American network now, as I have no doubt that, within the next 20-years, the USA will have at least 6 clubs playing in a reformatted European competition that will include the biggest clubs throughout the world.

    The financial power of club football, along with the corruption at FIFA, will likely make international football an irrelevance and the opportunity to see the greatest players in the world play on the biggest stage is something that the World Cup cannot guarantee.

    George Weah, George Best and many, many others did not get the opportunity to showcase their talent at the World Cup, but a new global club competition would almost certainly provide this platform in future.

    Kids are actively playing and pursuing a career in football in the States. As a participant sport, it surely has a reach far greater than the traditional American sports in terms of instant accessibility and if the American association can get into the inner-cities and expand the appeal to the young inhabitants, then the raw talent and natural athleticism will make America a true force in the global game.

    There are still not enough African-Americans getting access to the game. That’s changing, but not quite rapidly enough. More kids have to be introduced to “soccer” as a secondary option if kids don’t quite make it in their primary sport of choice and the collegiate system can help in this area also if they embrace our brand of football into their sports programmes.

    This is an area where Celtic can perhaps lend their support and influence instead of with the recognised franchises, as at some point soon – the MLS clubs are going to want to stake their claim to the other riches on offer in foreign markets and those claims may be a bit too high for Celtic to financially compete with.

    It seems like Celtic have considered the Young Americans as serious players in the game and recent recruitment would support that theory. Playing in Europe from a young age will also benefit US Soccer in the mid to long-term so everyone’s a winner (well apart from the sevvies who have been perennial losers since their conception in 2012).

  2. It’s great to have someone reporting on American soccer players that might prove to be rich pickings for the Celts. HH

  3. Thanks Larry. Nice finish from Harper. Hopefully Celtic will uncover more great youngsters from North America. HH

  4. Another great blog Larry ,brilliant to here the views stateside

    The spotlight on the youths is starting to shine brighter and hopefuly the scouting networks will be back up and running
    there’s a whole new untapped market in the USA

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