Soccer stars since their freshman year, seniors Jen Hoy, a forward, and Mark Linnville, a defender, both learned of opportunities to extend their distinguished careers last month. Linnville will head to Philadelphia to join his former teammate, Antoine Hoppenot ’12, to play with the MLS team Philadelphia Union. The Red Stars, of the newly-formed National Women’s Soccer League, selected Jen Hoy to play in Chicago.
“I actually heard [about the NWSL draft results] on my birthday, the 18th [of January].” Hoy said. “And I was in my room because I ended up getting the flu later that day and on the 19th. The draft happened earlier in the morning, and I started to receive a bunch of texts and emails from friends. I first heard the news from my assistant coach [Esmeralda Negron]. The league was streaming the draft through Twitter, and that’s what everyone was following.”
Linnville, who heard of the MLS Supplemental Draft results on Jan. 22, began preseason camp with the team over the last week of January but returned to Princeton to heal after a slight hamstring injury. Preseason scrimmaging begins almost immediately for the Philadelphia team, as they head to Florida to play Orlando City on Feb. 9.
Fulfilling his dream of playing professional soccer after a decorated Princeton career, Linnville was selected as the No. 24 pick in the second round. The senior co-captain defenseman is the fourth Tiger to be grabbed in the supplemental draft in the last three seasons. Last season, Union drafted forward Hoppenot with the 51st pick. In 2011, Josh Walburn went 23rd overall to Philadelphia, and Teddy Schneider joined the New York Red Bulls as the 31st pick in the second round. Linnville, at 21 years old, is a defender who earned All-Ivy honors each of his four seasons, becoming just the seventh player ever to do so. This past season, Linnville led a defense that allowed only 0.94 goals per game.
“I haven’t talked to Mark about the draft yet, but I’m so excited for him,” Hoy said. “It’s a really awesome opportunity that we both have. He’s definitely lucky that he’s close to Princeton. But I’m so excited to get the conversation with the Red Stars started, to learn more information.”
The Red Stars selected Hoy with their first pick in the fourth round of the draft as one of their four total picks. Of the 32 picks, she was the only Ivy Leaguer.
“I’ve definitely heard of [the other three girls who were drafted to Chicago]. We played UCLA this year, so I played against the forward [Zakiya Bywaters] who was the first draft pick from UCLA to Chicago,” she said. “She seems like a really speedy, gifted player. It’ll be neat to play with her and learn from her. Aside from that, I don’t personally know them yet.”
The NWSL is a brand-new league, set to begin competition this spring with eight teams, four of which are former members of the now-defunct Women’s Professional Soccer league. The new league incorporates teams based in the greater areas of Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, New York, Portland, Seattle, Rochester and Washington, D.C. One, the Washington Spirit, acquired Diana Matheson ’08 in early January.
Hoy concluded her career at Princeton by leading the team to an Ivy League title and a second-round game in the NCAA tournament against Marquette. She notched 18 goals in her final season, the second most in the program’s history. Earning that distinction was not enough for Hoy, who also tied the women’s soccer record with 17 regular-season goals, helping the Tigers to a 14-4-1 overall record and a perfect 7-0-0 in the Ivy League. This year alone, Hoy earned three major individual titles: Ivy League Player of the Year, NSCAA second-team All-America and NSCAA first-team All-Mid-Atlantic region.
Throughout her four years, Hoy posted 83 points (the fourth-most in program history) and 36 goals (also the fourth-most in the team’s history). This year’s was her third All-Ivy honor.
“Winning the Ivy League championship was the best moment of the season,” she said. “We weren’t able to do it my first three years. Over the summer I was so fixated on making it happen for us this year, my senior year. It was so sweet to finally accomplish it and go undefeated in the league 7-0. That was the best moment of my season. And then going on to the tournament was the icing.”
Linnville started in all but one of the 69 games Princeton played during his four years. A two-year captain, he scored four goals and assisted 13 more while at Princeton. His senior year, the Tigers went 4-1-2 in the Ivy League and posted an 8-6-2 overall record.
Hoy and Linnville will play with their new teams in conjunction with finishing their senior year. “It’s definitely been something that I always thought about and always worked toward, but I never knew that it could actually happen,” Hoy said. “It’s always every little girl’s dream when they’re a soccer player and just starting out. But it’s something that’s so far off, and there’s so much work that goes into it that you just have to take little steps that put you in the best spot to continue to improve as a player. I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity.”