Simon Greatwich, a Second Team Mid-American Conference all-star for Hartwick College's soccer team last fall, will forego his senior season to play professionally in the Philippines, the college announced Wednesday night.
Greatwich, a center midfielder, signed with the Loyola Meralco Sparks Futbal Club in the first division of the United Football League _ the Philippines' premier league.
"We're delighted for Simon," Hartwick coach John Scott said in a media release by the college. "We'll certainly miss a player of his level on the field, but (we're) very happy for what he's accomplished. It's every player's dream to compete on the professional level."
The UFL, founded in 2009, has 22 teams _ 10 in division one and 12 in division two. Loyola finished third in the division one standings with an 11-3-4 record and was runner-up in the UFL Cup last season.
Greatwich has played 10 times for the Philippines national team since 2008. In February and March of 2010, he helped the Philippines qualify for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup.
"It's very tough to say goodbye to the boys and to Hartwick," Greatwich said. "But it's an incredible opportunity and one I might not get again."
Greatwich is close to completing his degree in business adminstration.
"Simon is committed to finishing his degree," Scott said. "There's nothing more pleasing to me as a coach to know that this is a priority for him."
Greatwich finished second in scoring among Hartwick players last season. He had two goals and four assists.
Hartwick went 5-6-5 in 2011
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