University of Cincinnati Soccer Captain Matt Hayden Is On the Ball, On and Off the Field

Walk Corry Boulevard some beautiful spring day. If you haven’t walked it lately, take a look toward the south. A few things are blossoming around the Richard E. Lindner Varsity Village — like the Ben and Dee Gettler Stadium. Gettler Stadium (what used to be Meyers Field) houses the track and soccer fields and now boasts a new soccer field with a FieldTurf surface. Off the field, you’ll find seating for 1,400 plus restrooms, concessions and a press box.

"Gettler is really nice, a great pitch for us. It turned out great,” says soccer captain Matt Hayden. Hayden has other reasons to like Gettler. “It’s also pretty cool to have one of the two soccer pictures on the wall down in the corner be of me.”

Hayden has reason to be proud, but not just because his face is forever part of Gettler stadium.

Hayden received the Carl H. Lindner Award for Scholarship in 2004.

Hayden received the Carl H. Lindner Award for Scholarship in 2004.

Hayden’s achievements on the field are mirrored by his achievements off the field, in the classroom. In the past four years, in addition to balancing approximately 25 hours of training/competition a week as a full-time student-athlete, he has also earned many distinctions, such as:

  • CoSIDA Academic All-District IV Men’s Soccer Team (2002, 2004)
  • 2004 Legion of Excellence Inductee
  • Carl H. Lindner Scholarship from the College of Business Alumni Association (2004) 
  • Conference USA Commissioner’s Medal for Academics (2002, 2003, 2004)
  • Athletic Department’s Scholar-Athlete of the Quarter (winter 2003)
  • Men’s Soccer Team Scholar-Athlete of the Quarter (spring 2004, winter 2003, fall 2003 and spring 2002)
  • UC Team SAAC Representative (Student Athlete Advisory Committee)

Matt Hayden and NKU opponent.

Matt Hayden and NKU opponent.

In 2003, the UC men's soccer team was 2003 Conference USA Champions and participated in the NCAA Tournament. Hayden was red-shirted his sophomore season with a broken foot, a very rare break that wasn’t discovered until the end of the season. He had surgery at the end of his sophomore year and again in his junior year. The extra year of eligibility has offered Hayden the opportunity to earn an additional degree.

In the College of Business, Hayden is studying finance and real estate. He is interested in the construction industry and hopes to start his own company some day. But first he would like to take a shot at another goal: professional soccer.

“I would like to go pro, at least for a year or two,” says Hayden. “I’d love to go overseas to play.”

Raised in a military family, Hayden moved frequently while he was growing up. As a result (luckily), he loves to travel. During winter break 2004, he went to New Zealand, the home of teammate Wiremu Patrick.

“It’s a beautiful country,” Hayden says. “I’d love to go back.”

Speaking of beautiful country, Hayden calls Colorado his home. So what drew Hayden to UC from Liberty High School in Colorado Springs when the recruiters came calling?

President Nancy Zimpher congratulates Hayden upon receiving the Lindner Award.

President Nancy Zimpher congratulates Hayden upon receiving the Lindner Award.

"You can either see yourself at a place or not,” says Hayden. “From my first visit here I liked the team, I liked the people. Other places just didn’t feel right. They weren’t as friendly.”

Hayden found his intuition to be correct. He has found many friends at UC, most of them fellow athletes. In his spare time, he likes to play soccer, watch soccer and read about soccer.

“I’m a soccer junkie,” he says, smiling. When pressed, he admits to also enjoying skiing, snowboarding and camping.

Besides athletics, he is also actively involved in the Cincinnati community, as are many UC student-athletes. Hayden has visited Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to sign autographs and play with the kids. He also tutors grade-school children at Washington Park school and enjoys just hanging out with the kids. Through C.P.A.W.S. (Committee to Promote Athlete Welfare and Success), he has helped build a house for Habitat for Humanity. Hayden also volunteers for the TOPS (The Outreach Program for Soccer) soccer clinic and Special Olympics. Hayden obviously enjoys working with children, and would like to coach soccer someday.

Hayden's love of soccer will carry on past his days at UC. Copyright Brett Hansbauer.

Hayden's love of soccer will carry on past his days at UC. Copyright Brett Hansbauer.

In the immediate future, Hayden hopes to play for a USL Premier Development League team this summer and possibly work an internship in real estate back in Colorado.

Hayden Receives the Lindner Award

Hayden Named CoSIDA 

Cincinnati Soccer Academy Summer Camps

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