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Hayden Signs with PASL's Lightning
Former Houston Dynamo midfielder and Louisville native John Michael Hayden signs a one year contract with the Louisville Lightning.
“John Michael’s talent and experience will be critical as we enter into the final stretch of the season, were we will play [the remaining] thirteen of our nineteen games,” said David Horne, the Lightning’s general manager and forward.
Part owner and Assistant Coach Ted Nichols has been keeping up with Hayden for years. Nichols followed Hayden as a young athlete while playing for Trinity High School’s men’s soccer team and Indiana University, were Hayden won back-to-back national championships with the Hoosiers in 2003 and 2004.
After Hayden graduated in 2006 from IU, he went on to play for such teams as the Cleveland City Stars (a United Soccer League First Division team) the Houston Dynamo Reserves and the Houston Dynamo. It was Hayden’s days as an MLS player where Nichols paid extra attention to the midfielder’s skills. And, according to Nichols, it was the Lightning’s goal to sign a high caliber player such as Hayden.
“When the ownership group and management group started this club over 90 [to] 120 days ago, it’s this type of day that we had in mind. It’s a dream come true,” said Nichols at Hayden’s press conference.
Returning home for Hayden is a very important step for he and his wife, Hollie Hayden. Not only will Hayden be playing midfielder for the Lightning, he will also act as Mockingbird Valley’s Director of Coaching. The move back to Louisville looks to be a permanent one.
“I fully intend to stay in Louisville. I am ready to move here and have a family. I’ve moved around a lot in my career, and it has taken its toll on me,” said the Lightning’s newly acquired midfielder.
Hayden did not start or play any minutes for the Houston Dynamo. But his time spent in the Dynamo Reserves saw him as one of only two players to play all 1080 minutes of league play in 2008. That same year, the Dynamo Reserves would go on to win the leagues championship, adding another title to Hayden’s résumé. At only 25-years-old, Hayden is bringing a wealth of knowledge and ability to the Lightning.
“I am good passer of the ball, good dribbler of the ball. I think that I am pretty technical. I grew up playing indoor, actually in this facility (Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club), a lot; and the skill I might bring to the game is something I hope the fans will enjoy,” said Hayden.
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