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TFC Player Countdown: #8 Nick Hagglund

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After being thrown into a starting role after just being drafted and not knowing if he would stay with the first team, Nick Hagglund was able to catch the coaching staffs eyes and the hearts of the fans. Being a rookie in any league is hard, but Hagglund made it look like he was a veteran.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

As a rookie in any professional sports league you want to do three things.  First, you want to impress the coaching staff. Second you want to impress the fans.  Finally, you want to make your name remembered.  For Nick Hagglund, he has done all three this past year.

In 2014, Toronto FC traded up the MLS draft and selected Nick Hagglund out of the University of Xavier with the number 10 pick.  Hagglund was named the Big East Defender of the year in 2013 and named to the Big East First Team. The young Hagglund, behind FC Dallas stud Tesho Akindele, are the only players out of last years draft who have played more than 25 games this past year.  Hagglund also leads all defenders taken in that draft with the most games played.

This past year has been a good one for Hagglund, who had a very important role in the back line while captain Steven Caldwell, who missed 13 games last year due to injuries.  Hagglund impressed in his absence by helping a struggling defence who was in need of a key centre back.  He was able to finish in second in interceptions (3), clearances (6.2) and blocks (0.8) and came in first in offsides (0.6) (Per WhoScored)

Even Caldwell said that it is a great accomplishments for a young defender to appear in so many games in a difficult position that needs experience. Hagglund was given faith by both Ryan Nelson and Greg Vanney to be a starter in defence, even though he had no MLS experience and was just drafted that year.

I think Hagglund will be a starter for the Reds next year or at least a 20 game player. He has the potential to be a good defender who can get his body in the way and make sure no shots go near his keeper.  However, with all this praise and duty to be a starting defender, comes added pressure for a young player.  Hagglund looks poised to continue his form from last season, so hopefully all of this pressure can get pushed a side by him.  He has impressed many with his play, so now this off season he can focus, relax and look forward to the coming season as a new way to impress the coaches and fans.