The match might have been contested by well-known names like Javier Mascherano, Diego Lugano, Thierry Henry and a certain Lionel Messi.
But the night ended up belonging to an amateur player from the Chicago suburbs who hasn’t yet managed to secure a professional contract.
During Saturday’s Messi & Friends charity match, Matt Eliason, a financial analyst for GE Capital — and former college player for Northwestern University — provided the highlight of the night with a perfectly executed bicycle kick after receiving a chip from Henry.
As soon as the ball made it’s way past the goalkeeper, the crowd exploded, and even grizzled veterans like Henry and Florent Malouda seemed genuinely excited for Eliason. Northwestern’s Twitter account went wild following Eliason’s incredible goal:
— Northwestern Sports (@NU_Sports)
While it’s not surprising that Eliason managed the shot, considering that he is Northwestern’s all-time leading goal scorer, what is truly impressive is that he is not affiliated with any professional team. While Eliason pursued a career in soccer, even going so far as to attend MLS’s Draft Combine, the Illinois-native was passed over in the draft.
For Eliason, that oversight seems only a minor bump in his professional trajectory, as he continues to train daily in the hopes of joining an MLS team, despite a promising full-time job in finance.
With goals like this, one can imagine it won’t be too long until a professional team comes calling. Best of luck Matt and take a bow!
Photo: Brian Kersey/Getty Images