Matt Walker plays for the Columbus Crew during an international friendly with Crystal Palace F.C.
July 28, 2014
CINCINNATI - Former Xavier Soccer star Matt Walker made his Major League Soccer (MLS) debut for the Columbus Crew against Crystal Palace F.C. on Wednesday, July 23. Walker, a midfielder on loan from the Crew's USL-PRO affiliate in Dayton, came in as a second half sub and played in the final 23 minutes of the 2-2 draw.
The Batavia, Ohio native, was one of three "home-grown" players to make his first team debut during the international friendly.
"I was excited for sure, I'm not going to lie and say that I wasn't. I was definitely excited," Walker said to Ryan Schwepfinger of TheCrew.com. "I think your first touch is important. I had a good first touch and wanted to build on it. It was my first opportunity this season to wear the jersey, so naturally I was excited and ready to go."
Walker signed a contract with the Crew in January after completing his final year of eligibility for Xavier in the fall of 2013. Prior to joining the first-team Walker played in 18 games for the Dayton Dutch Lions FC during his rookie campaign. He scored two goals on the season, including one in his final game before being brought up to Columbus.
Walker's professional debut comes just months after the conclusion of his standout Xavier career. In his final season as a Musketeer, Walker added a number of accolades to his lengthy list of honors, including being named 2013 All-BIG EAST Second Team and 2013 College Sports Madness All-BIG EAST First Team.
Walker led the 2013 Musketeers with nine goals, bringing his Xavier career total to 26, a number that ties for sixth most all-time in Xavier records. He also added 25 points and seven assists during his senior season, giving him career totals (76 and 24, respectively) that rank in the top five in Musketeer history.
Walker is one of two former Xavier men's soccer players to make their first appearance in a MLS uniform in 2014. Nick Hagglund made his debut for Toronto FC in April.