After four years of flashing his goaltending skills for the Owls, Patrick Hannigan now has the opportunity to showcase them on the professional level.
Hannigan became the first Temple men’s soccer player to be drafted by a professional soccer team when the MetroStars selected the senior goalkeeper in the third round of the Major League Soccer draft Feb. 4.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” Hannigan said. “I’ve been training for a couple of weeks. This is the top of the line.”
Hannigan spent the previous few weeks displaying his skills to teams in hope of being picked. Before training with the MetroStars, Hannigan visited with the D.C. United and had made plans to visit the New England Revolution.
“I thought that it was unfair he wasn’t in the combine,” coach David MacWilliams said. “I wasn’t surprised he was chosen once the coach saw him [play]. I’ve talked to Pat about playing at the next level for two years now.”
“I knew I did well in college,” Hannigan said. “But there are only twelve teams, so it’s difficult to get drafted. I went up to New York, played well, and they expressed interest.”
Now that Hannigan has been selected, he must win a spot on the team. He is training twice a day with the MetroStars in Bradenton, Fla. He works strenuously, first on footwork, catching, and diving drills with the goalies before returning to scrimmage with the entire team.
Although Hannigan said his preseason work has impressed the coaches, he knows he must continue to work hard.
The MetroStars depart Florida Feb. 18. The players will spend five days at home before venturing to Ecuador to compete against some South American teams.
“It should be a lot of fun,” Hannigan said, “but being away will take its toll.”
Being far away from family and friends is not something he particularly enjoys, he said, which is why he is glad a nearby team selected him.
“I grew up in Philly. All my friends and family are here. New York is so big and I won’t know many people there. It will be a big change for me,” he said.
Hannigan came to the Owls in 2001 after being named to the all-Southeastern Pennsylvania team his senior year at Frankford High School. He played a pivotal role in resurrecting the men’s soccer program, which had suffered six losing seasons in seven years and had not placed higher than sixth place in the Atlantic Ten Conference in any of those years.
“Pat played a big part [in reshaping the program],” MacWilliams said. “He’s been voted A-10 Defensive Player of the Year twice and Soccer Seven MVP twice. I think it speaks volumes for what he’s done.”
“It was great to help the program build,” Hannigan said. “In the future, [Temple] will become a more prominent team nationally.”
After two more losing seasons, Hannigan helped guide the Owls to their first A-10 Tournament since 1993. They made it all the way to the championship game, where they lost. His school-record nine shutouts, 0.68 goals against average, and .867 save percentage earned him the A-10 Defensive Player of the Year award and a place on the All-Mid Atlantic Region First Team. He earned his degree in Business Administration in August.
The Owls again rode Hannigan to the A-10 Championship game in 2004, but once again fell short. Hannigan won his second A-10 Defensive Player of the Year award and finished his career with 30 wins and 20 shutouts.
MacWilliams said Hannigan joined the team as an undisciplined player. But by the end of his career, Hannigan realized the work MacWilliams demanded was to his benefit.
“Early in his career he did things for personal [reasons],” MacWilliams said. It was typical of a freshman or sophomore. By the end of his career he saw more of the overall picture.”
But Hannigan said it is not the awards or tournament appearances he is most proud of.
“[It’s] making some of the friends I’ve made,” Hannigan said. “The guys on the team were real supportive of me. I’m not sure how often that happens.”
Hannigan said he realizes that most goalkeepers in MLS camp are older than he is. He hopes to draw on his Temple experience with the MetroStars.
John Kopp can be reached at email@example.com