AFC Ann Arbor are excited to announce the addition of William Eskay to its 2019 roster. Eskay is coming off not only a decorated career with the William & Mary Tribe, but also his first ever professional campaign with Harrisburg Heat in the MASL. With experience already in the league with FC Frederick, Eskay is a signing that provides both experience and talent to the side.
With William & Mary, Eskay impressively started all 76 games he made an appearance in, serving as a four-year starter in the program. He was a three-time All-CAA Team selection, chosen to the Third Team as a sophomore and junior, and the Second Team as a senior in 2017. Eskay finished with double-digit point totals in all four of his seasons and ended his career with nineteen goals and twenty assists. He saw a career-high in goals during his sophomore season with seven, and followed that up with a junior season that included a career-high in assists with seven to go along with five goals. His final season saw him end with three goals and six assists as he helped send the Tribe to their first NCAA Tournament since 2013.
At the NPSL level, Eskay is similarly accomplished, and returning to that level is a part of his goals for the season. “Last year with the NPSL side FC Frederick, I made the All-Conference top XI team and the All-Region top XI team, so I will strive to make both of those teams again,” Eskay told AFCAA. FC Frederick finished third in the Mid-Atlantic Conference in the Northeast Region and were helped along with strong performances by Eskay.
Even more recently, though, is Eskay’s strong professional performance in his rookie year with Harrisburg Heat. If Harrisburg sounds familiar, that would be because Matt Braem, AFCAA icon and returnee for the 2019 season, spent his first professional season with Harrisburg as well. This was vital to Eskay’s signing with AFCAA as he said, “There were two main proponents that attracted me to AFCAA. The first is Ann Arbor itself, I am very excited to live in the area and experience the city. The Second and the main driving force is Matt Braem.” With high praise for Braem, Eskay would continue, “Both Matt and I shared successful rookie seasons at the Heat and came from similar backgrounds as NCAA Div. 1 players. Matt spoke very highly or the organization, coach, teammates, and the area. Needless to say, I was convinced after a short conversation that I wanted to be a part of the group.” If the AFCAA Family needed any more reason to love the man known as ‘Frenchy’, the fact that he helped bring along top-tier teammates to play a season in Ann Arbor is a great reason.
Eric Rudland acknowledged that Eskay’s signing is happening later in the preseason stage, but that is no grave matter. “William is a player that has come on our radar late in the process, but all of the feedback on him is super positive,” Rudland shared. “He has some athletic traits that make him a commodity, along with positional versatility.” As is the case with so many members of The Mighty Oak, that versatility makes him prized in Rudland’s system, and it is something Eskay takes pride in. “Since college the biggest change that has helped me greatly at the pro level is I have grown to be very versatile,” Eskay told AFCAA. With the ability to play positions from outside back to striker, “and everything in between” he added, he offers an added dimension to any line-up he may be involved in.
As a player, Eskay said he has a tough time talking about his own strengths. He did, however, offer this quote for his previous collegiate coach that summarized his game well: "He is a dynamic, game-changing, attacking player. William has exceptional speed and quickness, with and without the ball. He relishes being relied upon to score goals.” Expanding upon that, Rudland offered this, “He should hit the ground running as he is in shape and good form coming off his indoor season.”
Not only a top-quality player, but Eskay understands the community aspect that comes with being a member of AFC Ann Arbor. “Off the field I intend to get fully involved with AFCAA Community and help to grow the organization as a whole,” Eskay shared. He also added more team-oriented goals, saying, “I would love to help AFCAA win the conference again and to make a run in the open cup.” The Mighty Oak will get their first chance to step towards a USOC run on May 8th at 7 PM as they venture out to Lansing to take on Lansing Ignite.
Eskay’s message to the fans as a whole is, “I’m grateful for the opportunity and excited to be a part of the group.” With loads of experience and proven quality at a multitude of levels, The Mighty Oak are excited to have him within the squad.
About AFC Ann Arbor
Founded in 2014, Association Football Club Ann Arbor launched it’s men’s semi-pro team in 2015 and has competed in the NPSL since 2016. Led by Head Coach & Sporting Director, Eric Rudland, the team has found great success winning back to back Great Lakes Championships (‘17 & ‘18) and earning US Open Cup bids three straight years (2017-2019). In October 2018, the club announced the launch of the women’s side, who will be skippered by Andy “Pritch” Pritchard in their inaugural season of the United Women’s Soccer national league. Owned and operated by a group of local soccer fans and entrepreneurs, AFC Ann Arbor has become a fixture in the greater Ann Arbor community.