MICHAEL ADUBATO - Monday, January 13, 2020
Eric McWoods is on the move as it was announced on Monday that he has signed with Zalaegerszegi TE of the Hungarian National Championship, the country's top soccer division.
The striker heads to Hungary after spending his first professional season with Trans Narva in the Estonian top flight.
"I flew in last night, signed the contract today and even trained today," the St. Louis native told Yanks Abroad. "I'm really looking forward to playing here. I've heard good things about this league."
McWoods had a very successful season in Estonia, being voted the team's best player and also bagging their goal of the season. He was also voted into the Best XI of the Season for the Meistriliiga, having scored 13 league goals and 4 cup goals. The tally left him tied for second for goals.
"The contract is technically until the end of the season because the team is in relegation contention with four or five other teams. So hopefully if we stay up in the Premier Division the contract will be for two years. If we go down to the second division, they're only allowed a certain number of foreign players so (the contract) will probably have to end."
The 24-year-old striker was fortunate enough that his agent found a team where the sporting director was already familiar with him and had actually seen him play during his college days.
"My old coach during my last year at (The University of Missouri at Kansas City) is from Hungary and was a big-time player and coach there. One of his friends, who is the sporting director at Zalaegerszegi had seen me play before. When my agent was reaching out to teams, this opportunity came up. It was a great situation since he was familiar with me and obviously liked what he saw back then."
Having made the move, the young man is ready to hit the ground running.
"I'm hoping to jump right into the team when the season continues. They just had a friendly against Dinamo Zagreb, which I missed, of course. We have another friendly on Wednesday and then another on Saturday. These will be against Hungarian second division teams. Our next league game will be the following Saturday (against Diosgyor).
"I'm looking forward to playing. There are a lot of fans and it's a huge jump from Estonia so I'm hoping to continue to move up the ladder. That's the most important. I'm hoping that I continue to do well, learn, grow and adapt while continuing to develop my game. It's definitely going to be fun playing in front of a lot of fans in big stadiums."