Seniors set to take onpro careers

After being drafted by the Philadelphia Kixx in the Major Indoor Soccer League Draft last month, senior midfielder Ryan Heins said he was just happy to keep the tradition at Temple alive.

For the third consecutive year, a Temple senior has been drafted by a professional soccer team.

Goalie Patrick Hannigan and midfielder Tony Donatelli were each selected in the Major League Soccer Draft in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Both players now play for the Kixx, along with former Owl Steve Wacker. Heins is excited to join the former Owls.

“It definitely feels good to be picked in the first round draft,” said Heins, who was selected fifth overall. “I’ve played with these guys before and they’ve paved the way for me to play here now.”

Senior defenseman Matt Maher was taken
with the second overall pick by New Jersey, which is one of two expansion teams set to premier during the 2007-08 season.

During his career at Temple, Heins led the Owls in assists, shots and shots on goal. In 2006, he earned First Team All-Soccer 7 and Second Team All-Atlantic Ten Conference
honors. Heins said he was unsure as to which team would draft him.

“We all grew up watching the Kixx,” he said. “And at first, the Newark coach said he was interested. But ending up with the Kixx was a very pleasant surprise for me.”

Though Maher will not join his former teammates in Philly, he said New Jersey will be a good fit for him.

“It’s a good feeling to put all that time into playing for a Division I team, and then to make it to the next level,” Maher said.

“Playing for an expansion team is good for a new player since there are no veterans on the team. It will be tough no matter what, but I’m ready.”

In 2006, Maher earned First Team-All Soccer 7 and led the Owls in scoring. Heins and Maher were the only two players to be drafted out of the Philadelphia Soccer 7, which includes Drexel, La Salle, Penn, Philadelphia University, Saint Joseph’s and Villanova. Both players attributed some of their success to the coaching they received at Temple.

Coach David MacWilliams, the former head coach of the Kixx, put his imprint on the players as soon as they reached campus.

“I started off playing as a forward,” Maher
said. “Coach thought I should play defense,
so I did. He just knew where I should play.”

“I have a lot of good experiences from playing on this team,” Heins added. “The team didn’t play well collectively, but we played well against some of the best teams.” Heins and Maher said they are ready to start playing at the next level.

“I’m hard working and I’m willing to work as hard as possible playing for the Kixx,” Heins said.The new season for both teams begins in September. Maher said he will play for the outdoor team during the summer. Heins said he will be able to practice with the Kixx once he graduates in May.

Melissa DiPento can be reached at

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