By Michael Lewis
Matt Nigro has been FC Motown’s unsung hero this season, says head coach Sacir Hot.
Today, he’s the National Premier Soccer League’s hero as the midfielder Wednesday was named winner of its Golden Ball.
“Matt’s been great for us this year,” Hot said. “Hes been special because he has a nice passing range and it opens up any team that we play against. We can play out of high places, we can play out of the high press, we can open teams up, drop the defense back. It gives guys like Dilly [Duka] and Maxi [Garcia] and Kav [Daryl Kavanagh] space to operate in the middle. So, it was nice. He’s done a good job, man. He’s been really professional this all season.
“He has been our unsung hero this year.”
A graduate of William Paterson College, Nigro has been a vital part of FC Motown’s attack, scoring seven goals and setting up a dozen.
“For me personally it is a huge honor to receive such a prestigious award,” Nigro said. “But I think without the team it would be impossible. Week in and week out this team performed as a unit and I am just a benefit of the tremendous talent that is on this team.”
In fact, Hot felt Nigro’s performance and MVP honor will go a long way in helping him pursue his goal of performing for a professional club in the United States. Nigro played with IF Vestri in Iceland, collecting seven goals and nine assists from 24 appearances (22 starts) with the Third Division side.
“He’s looking to join the professional ranks,” Hot said. “What better way than winning the best player in the NPSL. He’s been good for us.”
Nigro and his FC Motown teammates will host Miami FC 2 in the NPSL final at Drew University Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
“Matt is going up against the best of the best,” Hot said. “We have Dilly, Miami has Dylan Mares. Cosmos B has Danny Szetela and Rafa [Garcia]. Those are elite guys. Those are guys i know off the top of my head. At the end of the day, he could say, ‘I won the best player in such a strong league.’ Teams like Miami, the Cosmos, us, Jacksonville there’s a lot of good players in the NPSL. for him to be named the best player in the NPSL, it should perk up some ears in the professional ranks, whether it be USL or MLS. He should be able to get some kind of looks off of this.”
It has been quite a memorable week for the Nigro brothers. Matt’s younger brother, David, scored the game-winning goal in the waning minutes of FC Motown’s 2-1 semifinal win over FC Mulhouse Portland Saturday night.
After Matt was named to the NPSL National XI last week, David gave him some brotherly praise.
“He’s a guy who works his tail off,” he told FrontRowSoccer.com. “He definitely deserves it. Sometimes he maybe doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. It’s time that he got some accolades for himself, which is nice. He definitely works his socks off, game in and game and game out, whether it is stretching or doing fitness or training on his own. He puts in the extra hours. It’s good for him to finally get some recognition for it.”