Feb. 24, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. – Former Northwestern men’s soccer player Matt Eliason has signed a professional contract with Throttur FC of the Iceland First Division. Eliason is scheduled to begin preseason in April when Throttur travels to England to begin training for the season, which runs from May-September.
Eliason was on trial with the club earlier in the winter and after scoring a goal and assist in his only appearance, worked out a contract with his club.
“His attitude and approach to the trial displayed his ambition and determination to succeed, “ Throttur head coach Gregg Ryder said. “The main things, which prompted us to sign Matt, are his eye for goal and movement. He is a natural finisher; his first thought is always, ‘Where is the goal?’ I expect big things from Matt. I am very confident, as is he, that he will score goals and contribute to the team’s success.”
Eliason, who will be taking a leave of absence from his position as a financial analyst for GE Capital in Chicago, rose to international fame following his performance in the Messi & Friends charity exhibition match at Soldier Field in July. Playing against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and some of the best players in the world, Eliason stole the show with his bicycle-kick goal, one of two goals he scored in the match.
The YouTube video of his bicycle-kick goal has more than three million views and following the game, a variety of national and international publications wrote about his performance. Eliason also appeared as an in-studio guest on ESPN’s SportsCenter and reunited with the player who assisted on the wonder goal, New York Red Bull and French International star, Thierry Henry as a special guest of the Red Bull during a match in the fall.
"I'm very excited to be joining Throttur FC and look forward to the challenge of competing in Iceland,” Eliason said. “I’d like to give special thanks to coach (Tim) Lenahan for all his support of the last few years, even after I graduated from Northwestern. Having the chance to play with my former Northwestern teammates in the ‘Messi and Friends’ game was a special experience that I will never forget. Thanks also to Northwestern Athletic Communications Department for helping to circulate the ‘Messi and Friends’ story to allow me to prolong my soccer career. Lastly, I'd like to thank my employer, GE Capital, for giving me the flexibility to pursue my dream of playing soccer. Overall, I'm excited for a new adventure and can't wait to join up with my new club."
During his four seasons with the Wildcats (2007-10; graduated in June of 2011), Eliason made his mark as one of the best players in Northwestern men’s soccer history. The former recruited walk-on is still the program’s all-time leading scorer with 33 goals, along with 82 career points, and was a three-time All-Big Ten selection. The communications studies major was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and CoSIDA Academic All-America honoree.
“I’m so happy for Matt,” Northwestern head coach Tim Lenahan said. “His journey of resiliency and determination is one of the great stories in sport as he will finally get his chance to be what he was meant to be all along – a professional soccer player. I am certain he will do the two things with Throttur that he has always done as a player – work hard and score goals. I truly believe this is just the beginning of successful soccer career and there will be a storybook ending to this amazing journey.”
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!