AFC Ann Arbor are excited to announce the signing of Brady Walker, the newest member of the AFCAA Family, for the 2019 season. Walker is a Hartland, Michigan, native, who has just completed his freshman season with Saginaw Valley State. He will be the third confirmed member of the Cardinals’ 2018 side that made a run to the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen – joining Jake Rosen (now graduated) and Ryan Pierson (now with Detroit Mercy) on the squad. The addition of another Michigan native continues to highlight coach Eric Rudland’s dedication in finding both top-tier local and international talent for the club.
Walker is coming off a freshman campaign that saw him contribute valuable minutes to SVSU in his first collegiate season. After starting just once in the first nine games, despite playing in all of them, he quickly became a nailed-on starter with nine starts in the final eleven games, playing in all eleven of them. He scored three goals for the team, two of them as a sub, but offers plenty more than just goals as a player. “My freshman season at SVSU was a big learning curve playing against people up to six years older than me,” Walker said of the collegiate season. He noted, “It was a big adjustment to the much higher speed of play and I grew a lot as a player.”
As a player, Rudland says on his newest signing, “Brady is another local player we are really excited about. He is versatile to play in a few different positions and is coming off a solid freshman campaign at SVSU.” That versatility makes him valuable to any team, and it is incredibly diverse when it comes to positions played. When discussing his first season at the collegiate level, Walker discussed this as one of his greatest strengths, saying, “I played a number of positions this past season with SVSU ranging from outside back, to winger.” One thing AFCAA as a whole has been able to do is supplement multiple players with one player, and Walker’s ability will allow him to do just that.
When it comes to technical aspects of the sport, Walker has something else in mind when it comes to strong aspects of his game, saying, “Another strength I have is my creativity. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been very creative on the ball and it has helped me grow as a soccer player.” His creativity, plus the already mentioned versatility, allows him to do a job in a plethora of spots for The Mighty Oak this upcoming season, especially on the wing, where he is already familiar as a result of his collegiate season.
As a player from the state of Michigan, AFCAA as a club is nothing new to the newest member of The Mighty Oak. “I have been to multiple games before and the atmosphere was amazing, the fans, and the support for the team was crazy,” he said. “It was always a blast when I watched, and it really attracted me to the club.” The support of the fans, combined with a resounding stamp of approval from his teammates, helped sell him on the club. He expanded upon that as well, saying, “I know a few of the previous AFCAA players and they all told me about how brilliant the training atmosphere is and every player is willing to give their all to get better.” The positive atmosphere is a key draw for players into the AFCAA Family. With the continued addition of players like Walker, that will only continue in years to come.
“AFCAA is a great team with some amazing fans,” Walker said of the club’s supporters. It is no secret how integral the support and love the fans, like the Main Street Hooligans, show to plays is in continuing to attract top level players at a collegiate or semi-professional level. “I’m excited to represent AFCAA and further my soccer skills,” he added. “I’m hoping to contribute to another successful season and be part of the AFCAA tradition.” With already such an established tradition and culture of success, a player like Walker, who has been successful even already despite his young collegiate career, is essential to building the character of the 2019 season. He rounding his statements out by telling the fans of the club, “I’m extremely excited to represent AFCAA and have no doubt that we will be able to succeed again this season.” With the season just a couple months off in the distance, the anticipation for fans and players alike only continues to grow.