Jan. 9, 2014
CINCINNATI - Xavier University senior men's soccer player Matt Walker (Batavia, Ohio/Batavia) began his professional career this week signing a contract with the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer on Wednesday, Jan. 8.
“This is a great day for the Walker family and a great moment for our program,” said XU head coach Andy Fleming. “Matt was part of a group that put this program on the map nationally from a team standpoint. Now, with Luke Spencer being drafted last year, Matt’s contract signing and Nick Hagglund headed to this week’s MLS combine, Xavier is on the map as far as a career in soccer being a reality for our players. To play for his hometown team and a team that he came up with in the youth system makes this really neat for Matt. I’m excited that all of Xavier nation will be able to share his career.”
By signing Walker and also Ross Friedman from Harvard University, the Crew now has seven Homegrown Players on its active roster, tying FC Dallas for the League lead. Per club and MLS policy, terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
Both Walker and Friedman were members of the Crew Juniors Super-20 squad that captured the 2011 national title, and Walker was a member of the U-19 McGuire Cup-winning side in 2012. Walker, the 2011 Crew Soccer Academy’s Under-19/20 Player of the Year, and Friedman join five other Crew Soccer Academy products on the Black & Gold roster.
Walker, who earned his first career NSCAA/Continental Tire All-Region (third team) award in December, finished the 2013 campaign with a team-high nine goals, seven assists and 25 points as XU finished the season 10-7-2 overall (6-3 BIG EAST). The midfielder, who was a 2013 second team All-BIG EAST selection and earned a spot on the College Sports Madness All-BIG EAST first team, scored 18 goals and registered 16 assists in the last two seasons. Walker, a BIG EAST Player of the Week honoree on Sept. 16, finished second in points (14) and goals (6) and tied for ninth in assists (2) in the league during conference play.
Through games played on Dec. 15, Walker ranked 33rd in the nation and 3rd in the BIG EAST in assists per game (0.41), while also ranking 18th nationally and No. 1 in the conference in points per game (1.47).
The senior made 79 appearances during his four-year career for the Blue and White. During his tenure as a Musketeer, he scored 26 goals and added 24 assists, posting double-digit goal and assist numbers as a junior before finishing his senior season with nine goals and seven assists.
“Personally I’d like to thank Matt and his family for coming onboard four years ago and their commitment and enthusiasm for our program,” said Fleming. “For the Walkers this is a culmination of thousands of miles and hours as this has been their sons dream for quite some time. We will all enjoy the fruits of their labor over the next few days.”