Local hero Hertzog hopeful for perfect Union
Corey Hertzog is a man who gets what he wants.
The Penn State striker lead the nation in goals and points in 2010 and was so deadly in the penalty area that Nittany Lions coach Bob Warming said the worst thing that could happen to opposing teams was when Hertzog would miss an early scoring opportunity.
That's when Hertzog would work even harder to get another chance. And that's the work ethic optimistic Philadelphia Union fans can hope to see if the Reading, Pa. native gets what he wants and ends up with coach Peter Nowak's crew during Thursday's MLS SuperDraft.
“I have a lot of family from around here,” Hertzog told MLSsoccer.com, “and we’re hoping for that No. 5 pick with Philly. I’d love to play for the Union and be close to home.”
Warming believes the Union would be wise to use their first-round selection in Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft to select Hertzog, who finished the 2010 college season with 20 goals and 46 points. Hertzog has ties to the Union after playing with their affiliate, Reading United AC, last year.
“That would be a great fit,” Warming said. “Here’s a local boy that comes out of nowhere to sign a professional contract. I know (Union assistant coach) John Hackworth is very good at development of players and combined with (head coach) Peter Nowak’s wealth of international experience, it’s a good combination for Corey.”
Warming, who just finished up his first year at Penn State, knows a thing or two about promising prospects. The veteran coach, who’s amassed nearly 400 wins through stops at seven different colleges, has had a player drafted into MLS every year since the league’s inception and had another player – Keith DeFini of Creighton – also lead Division I in scoring back in 1993.
“Every player is unique,” Warming said. “Corey’s uniqueness is how good he is in the box. He would not rank with some other players I’ve had as a guy who might help you get into the penalty area. But as a guy who wins games for you, he’s fantastic.”
Hertzog often won games for Penn State, added his coach, with “special, spectacular goals.” And it all came from hard work and preparation.
“Coach Warming and I worked on confidence and killer instincts around the net,” Hertzog said. “Whenever I’m in the box, the first thing I look for is the back of the net. I guess that’s my best attribute.”
It’s that attribute, more than anything else, that turned a player left off the preseason All-America list into TopDrawerSoccer.com’s national player of the year. And though he originally wanted to return to school for his senior year, Hertzog and his coach agreed the Generation adidas opportunity was too much to turn down.
The next step, of course, is hearing his name called at the Baltimore Convention Center on Thursday.
“I’m feeling all of the emotions right now,” Hertzog said. “Fear. Excitement. It’s all around the board.”