Former Penn State women’s soccer standout Maya Hayes was selected sixth overall by Sky Blue FC last week at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention in Philadelphia.
“I don’t think it has really hit me yet,” Hayes said. “I am very humbled to have this opportunity and I want to thank my parents, my coaches, my teammates, Penn State and everyone who has helped me get to where I am today. I truly don’t think that I would be here today without all of the support and help I have received over the years. I am looking forward to a bright future with Sky Blue and I am excited for what the future holds.”
Hayes, a four year started for the Lady Lions, accumulated numerous honors and awards during her time at Penn State. She was named an all-American each of the past three years, one of only seven Nittany Lions to receive the honor three times. She finished second in the Big Ten, and eighth nationally in scoring, with 19 goals in her senior year. Hayes is Penn State’s third all time leading scorer, and, at the time of her final match, was the leading active scorer in Division 1 women’s soccer.
A dynamic force on the field, Hayes also earned academic recognition away from it. This past year, Hayes, along with teammate Taylor Schram, were named NSCAA first team Scholar All-Americans. Hayes graduated with a 3.39 cumulative GPA in kinesiology. She was also a M.A.C. Hermann Trophy semifinalist (given to the nation’s top male and female soccer player) as well as Penn State’s first Senior CLASS Award finalist (honoring a student-athlete who demonstrates engagement in the community, classroom, character and competition).
Hayes may just be beginning her transition to the pros, but she has already competed on the international stage. A forward for the under-20 United State’s national team, Hayes is the most capped player on the team’s roster. The 5’7″ New Jersey native has played in 37 games for the national team, including the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany. She’s the team’s leading scorer in international games with 12 goals.
Under Hayes’ leadership, the U-20 squad won the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship and has qualified for 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan. Recently, Hayes was invited to workout with the U-23 team, one step closer to making the United State’s national team roster.
“I am so proud of Maya,” said Penn State head coach Erica Walsh. “She has been a dream to coach over the last four years and I know that the opportunity to play professionally is a dream of hers. She is going to be a terrific player for Sky Blue.”