By: Jill Wunrow
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - For the first time in the history of the Green Bay men's soccer program, a former player has signed a contract with a Major League Soccer franchise as Tony Walls (Wauwatosa, Wis.) has inked a one-year deal with the Chicago Fire.
"It was a long, stressful preseason but I made it and am pretty excited," said Walls. "I'm emotionally drained, it's been a roller coaster ride throughout preseason but it's a dream come true."
The 2011 Horizon League Player of the Year was selected in the third round as the 47th pick in the supplemental draft. Since being drafted in mid-January, Walls has been competing in training camp and preseason for the Fire in the hopes of landing a spot on the 26-man roster.
"Coming in as a new coach I heard a lot of positive things about him and how great of an athlete he was. The thing I was pleasantly surprised with was how technical of a player Tony is," said Green Bay head coach Kris Kelderman who was a four-year assistant in the MLS prior to coming to the Phoenix. "The players at the next level play quicker, see things happen and are much better than the average player. He has that extra special something."
Walls played substantial minutes with the Fire during its six-week preseason play which featured both college and other MLS teams, while making one start.
"After transferring and then coming back to Green Bay, it's a happy ending and is well worth all the support put into him and his career," said Kelderman. "Good for him in being able to experience a dream come true."
The Chicago Fire opens regular season play for the 2012 campaign Saturday, Mar. 17 as it travels to Olympic Stadium to battle Montreal.
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