Ethan Finlay, Sarah Hagen and Tony Walls enter professional ranks
FC Milwaukee is proud to see 3 more players, who spent influential developmental years with the club as youth, pursue further opportunities in the game as professionals. Ethan Finlay who played from U15-U18; Sarah Hagen who played from U17-U20; and Tony Walls who played from U13-U18 were l drafted in last week's Major Leauge Soccer (MLS) and Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) drafts. Hagen a U23 National team member, will also play in the German women's professional league. .
"This year represents the first year we have seen multiple players who spent time with us drafted in the first round of our country's outdoor professional leagues. Ethan, Sarah and Tony now stand along side those who have gone on to play professionally before them as representatives of what players with the right combination of talent, motivation and challenging environments can achieve. We are extremely proud to call them club members and wish all three continued success," said Director of Coaching Pete Knezic.
As the 10th player selected in the MLS Super Draft, Ethan Finlay will resume his fantastic post FC Milwaukee soccer voyage in the pros. A whirlwind week, in which he was awarded first runner up for the MAC Hermann Award and scored a hat trick in an MLS combine match, was finally culminated by his being selected to bolster the Columbus Crew's attacking options.
According to www.gocreighton.com, the two-time Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Player of the Year is one of only three players in school history to earn NSCAA All-Americn honors twice in a career, including this year. Additionally in 2011, Finlay led Creighton and the MVC in points and goals respectively, while ranking 12th in the NCAA with 34 points and 13th in the NCAA with 14. The Marshfield, WI native finished his college career ranked fifth in school history and seventh in league history with 43 career goals. He also finished sixth in Creighton history and 10th in MVC history with 103 career points.
Finlay played with FC Milwaukee for 3 years on teams that finished 3rd and 2nd in the USYSA National Championships in back to back years."I'm very excited for Ethan and his family," said FCMN Coach Tony Wright, one of Finlay's coaches at the club. "MLS will be a great next step for Ethan. Having watched him play and grow over the last 7 years, I have no doubt he can take this next step in his career in stride and find success."
Click here for a video of Columbus Crew coach Brian Bliss' comments on Finlay:
Click here for a video of Finlay's reaction to being selected:
Another in demand FC alumnus, Sarah Hagen will don 2 professional jerseys in 2012. Hagen, an Appleton native, signed with Bayern Munich of the German Frauen Bundesliga back in late December and is currently playing abroad with the team. Meanwhile, in last week's WPS Draft, she was selected 5th overall by the league's championship runner up, Philadelphia Independence. Hagen is expected to join the Independence in May, at the conclusion of the Bundesliga season.
As a four time All American, Hagen led the NCAA in goals per game (1.238), points per game (2.90) and game winning goals in 2011, her senior year. Her 26 goals in 2011 set school and Horizon league recorads for a single season and were second in the country. Her 93 career collegiate goals ranks ninth in NCAA Division I history.
Per the Independence website, an excited Head Coach Paul Riley had this to say about Hagen, " I think Hagen has the potential to be a world class player. She is a handful physically and I think you'll see her on the team for the next World Cup; she has that much talent. She is a terrific pick up for us, with her speed, size and goal scoring ability; she will be tough for a lot of defenders to handle."
Hagen played youth soccer with FC Milwaukee Nationals for 2 years as a youth, in addition to spending a year on our women's summer league team. " When Sarah first came to FC Milwaukee, it was not long after her recovery from cancer. It was a very transitional stage for her. She immediately displayed her unique talents around the goal, but it took time for her to find a consistent work rate that would imipact the game from start to finish. Obviously, that came as well. Sarah is truly one of the best soccer talents to ever play in FC Milwaukee colors and certainly one of the most inspiring stories," said FCMN Coach Rob Harrington.
Tony Walls, of Wauwatosa, was selected by the Chicago Fire in the 3rd round of the MLS Supplemental Draft (47th overall). Walls, a 6 year FC Milwaukee standout defensive midfielder, who joined at U13 and played through U18, was among the magnate players whose abilities can be given partial credit for attracting players like Ethan Finlay, J.C Banks (Rochester Rhinos) and others from around the state to a solid core of players that made a 2 year run at the USYSA Boys National Championship contending teams of 2006 and 2007.
A three time All Horizon League team member at UW Green Bay, Walls began his senior 2011 season on the MAC Hermann Award watch list, scored a team leading 7 goals (4th best in the league) and finished the season with Horizon Player of the Year honors.
"Tony's combination of physical presence, solid all around skill, vision and competitiveness. were impressive from a very young age," said FCMN Coach Chris McCreary who assisted as a scout for the National Championship contending teams on which Walls played. "We are not surprised that Tony has earned this opportunity He has always excelled and has a tremendous will and determination to succeed," said McCreary.
Congratulations Tony, Sarah and Ethan and continued perserverance.