Player Profile – Paul Walters: West Chester’s Own

Paul Walters is shown during a match between FC Cincinnati 2 and Atlanta United FC 2 on May 25, 2023. Picture by Megan Lee.

Goalkeeper Paul Walters was a part of FC Cincinnati’s inaugural academy class in 2019 and on Jan. 20, 2023, Walters became only the sixth academy product to sign a first-team contract.

But how did he get to where he is today?

Walters attended Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio, and played his freshman and sophomore years on the varsity team for the Firebirds. This was also the same high school as FCC legend Nick Hagglund.

As a Freshman, Walters played only five matches for Lakota West but conceded just four goals and recorded three shutouts. In his sophomore campaign, Walters started all 18 games for the Firebirds, registering 57 saves and seven shutouts throughout the season before Mason eventually eliminated Lakota West in the OHSAA tournament.

Walters didn’t return for his junior and senior year, as he joined the Orange and Blue’s academy later in 2019. He also played for the U17 and U19 teams.

After a few years with the FCC academy, Walters committed to Northwestern University to play college soccer and compete in the Big 10 conference.

At Northwestern, he appeared in four games for the Wildcats, posting a 2-1-1 record. Walters earned his first career win in a collegiate start against Houston Baptist on Sept. 21, 2022. He tallied a career-high in saves with six in a 3-1 win over the Northern Illinois Huskies on October 12.

Walters left Northwestern after just one season to return to the FC Cincinnati academy in 2022. Once he returned, he played one game for FC Cincinnati 2, making five saves in a 5-3 win over Orlando City B.

In the 2023 season, Walters started 19 games for FCC 2, registering 78 saves and two clean sheets throughout the year.

Upon the start of the 2024 season, Walters was sent on loan to Hartford Athletic in the USL Championship to receive consistent playing time in the second division of U.S. Soccer. In his seven games for the Green and Blue, Walters persevered in two clean sheets and made 21 saves, conceding 13 goals.

On May 17th, Walters was recalled by FCC and has started the past couple of matches for FCC 2.

At the age of just 20, it’s no secret Walters holds a lot of talent and has a lot of potential. From high school, college and now at different professional levels, Walters will continue to remain a key piece for FCC 2 and look to fight for first-team minutes soon.

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