TUKWILA, Wash. – FGCU men’s soccer goalkeeper Nathan Ingham capped his summer off on Sunday by raising a trophy and being named Tournament MVP as his K-W United FC club claimed the 2015 PDL Championship presented by Nike.
Ontario-based K-W (Kitchener-Waterloo) United defeated the New York Red Bulls U23 by a 4-3 score in the title match to capture its first PDL crown. Ingham (Keswick, Ontario/Keswick HS) earned a shutout in the semifinals and made several key saves – including a second-half penalty-kick attempt – in the final.
“This is a win for my team, not so much myself,” Ingham said after the game. “I was blessed with the MVP and I think a lot of other guys deserve it. Letting in three goals and still winning a championship game, you have to give all the credit to your teammates. I just came up when they needed me.”
The PDL (Premier Development League) is sponsored by the United Soccer League in the United States and Canada, and is widely considered the top-level men’s amateur league in the U.S. with a plethora of former players going on to successful international professional careers.
In the semifinals on Friday, Ingham secured a 1-0 shutout against the Seattle Sounders FC U23 on the Sounders home field. In the final, Ingham stepped up big when it mattered most. After his team took a lead in the sixth minute, Ingham made a full-stretch save off a header which was ticketed for the right corner of the frame to keep K-W United in front in the 13th minute.
However, perhaps his biggest save of the day came in the 79th minute. After K-W United built a 3-0 halftime lead, the advantage was trimmed to 4-2 late in the second half with NYRB U23’s team captain Scott Thomsen in position to make it 4-3 as he stood over a PK. But his left-footed shot toward the right side of the net was stopped by Ingham, who anticipated correctly and gave his team a much-needed boost heading into the final few minutes of the contest.
“I felt like I needed to bail out my team there, and when he stepped up I think I had a good read on him before he even hit it,” Ingham added. “I kind of went on my instinct and took care of business.”
Ingham is the second FGCU goalkeeper this summer to win a national championship as incoming freshman Sawyer Jackman (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East HS) claimed a U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championship with the Chicago Fire Academy U17/18 last month. As the starting keeper, Jackman helped the Fire to a series of playoff wins, culminating with a 3-1 triumph over Real Salt Lake-Arizona at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, Calif.
In addition to Ingham, incoming midfielder Dylan Sacramento (Winnipeg, Manitoba/York University) is also a member of K-W United. Sacramento issued three assists during the regular season – the fourth-most on the roster – despite playing only eight contests.
K-W United posted an 11-2-1 regular-season record, followed by five postseason victories, for a combined 16-2-1 mark. Between the regular season and postseason, K-W United capped off the year with a 15-game unbeaten run (14-0-1), thanks in large part to Ingham in net.
Ingham posted a goals-against average of 0.77, allowing just 10 goals over 1,170 minutes and producing 39 saves during the regular season. Furthermore, Ingham was named to the PDL Team of the Week once this summer, in addition to training stints with Toronto FC and the Columbus Crew of the MLS. For his work throughout the summer, Ingham was named as an Honorable Mention for PDL Player of the Year.
Ingham and his FGCU teammates will open the 2015 season against 2014 NCAA Championship quarterfinalist Georgetown at home on Aug. 28. The contest will be the first of 15 on the year, which features 10 non-league tilts, seven home contests (all scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m.) and eight road matches. In total, three non-conference opponents participated in the 2014 NCAA Championship, and five won at least 10 games last year. Additionally, five non-conference opponents finished 2014 inside the top-50 in the RPI, and three were inside the top-30.
FGCU is led by Bob Butehorn, who has coached 45 A-Sun All-Conference selections since FGCU started its program in 2007. In just four years of postseason eligibility, Butehorn has guided FGCU to three A-Sun Tournament championships and NCAA Tournament appearances – in 2011, 2012 and 2014 – and has won an unprecedented five-straight A-Sun regular-season championships. His teams have been ranked nationally on several occasions by multiple media outlets, and in 2013 he won his 100th career game.
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