As a kid you always look up to the professional players you see on the big screen. For me it was Ronaldo (Brazil), Theirry Henry, and Zinedine Zidane. For college athletes who live, breath, and sleep sports, one can only dream of playing with players of this magnitude. For one former College soccer star this was a reality.Former Northwestern University Soccer Forward Matt Eliason got a opportunity of a lifetime this weekend. With unexpected drop outs from super stars like Cesc Fabregas, Edison Cavani, and Prince Boateng, it looked like the Charity soccer game of Messi and friends was going to be a complete waste. That would be the case if it weren’t for the rescue of 10 Northwestern soccer players and almuni to fill the spots.
It was an incredible night for Chicago. In goal for Messi’s team was Tommy Tombridge another Northwestern Alumni. This guy had only played in a total of 6 games in his career at Northwestern and now he was playing keeper for Messi and his super squad. Talk about a big leap. Tommy though not a MLS caliber keeper had made some huge saves in net, some that even got the commentators saying wow.
There was some great soccer being played from both teams. The one kid that stole the show though was not a professional soccer player. The only one who created Sports Center Top play material was Matt Eliason. He went out and played like it was his last chance at showing the world what kind of player he was, a player with a massive heart and passion for the game. Coming off a chip pass Theirry Henry, Matt chested the ball up and perfectly struck the ball in mid air completing one of the most memorable bicycle kicks we have seen in this generation.
My final thoughts on Matt Eliason is: Give the kid another chance at the big leagues. This kid had gone from his financial analysts desk job to play soccer in a Stadium to over 50,000 viewers and he kept complete composure while out on the field. And although it was just a friendly game, it still was a lot resting on all those kids shoulders. Nothing phased this kid though and while I am not saying he can become a full on starter, maybe there lies a little potential that was overlooked. He definitely at leasts deserved another shot.
Check out this Beautiful Finish by Eliason: