Alumnus Joe Hafferty recruited to recruited to play for the Sounders

Kaitlyn Keyes, Editor-in-chief

Growing up, every young boy or girl is inevitably faced with the same question: what do you want to be when you grow up?

Children, the impractical beings that they are, answer in a variety of ways, some claiming that they will pursue grand professions such as being a superhero or a famous actor while others stick to more realistic, mundane answers. But while most typically never achieve their childhood fantasies, Joe Hafferty, Liberty alumnus and son of math teacher Kristi Hafferty,  has done just that. 

Recently, Hafferty was drafted to play for the Seattle Sounders soccer club, where he will continue his soccer journey after graduating from Oregon State University. 

“I remember in elementary school when teachers would ask ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ and people would answer ‘firefighter’ or ‘superhero’ or whatever, and it wasn’t serious. But in the back of my mind I was always thinking, ‘no, I actually want to play soccer,’” Hafferty said. 

Hafferty has been invested in high level soccer from a young age. He began his soccer experience in elementary school, playing on the soccer club the Thunderbirds. From there, he went to the Pacific Northwest Soccer Club and later played for the Sounder Youth Academy. 

“Both my parents competed at the collegiate level, so from a young age I was encouraged to find a sport. I remember my sister playing soccer and going to indoor sports arenas with my parents to kick the ball around,” Hafferty said. “Even back then, I knew that soccer was something I enjoyed and wanted to continue to do.”

Of course, his soccer journey hasn’t been without its challenges.

“During my time playing soccer, I’ve had two pretty serious injuries. But these setbacks have taught me a lot about managing the mental aspect of the game; they have helped me develop my love for the game in that I recognized how much I missed being out on the field and competing with friends,” Hafferty said.

The lessons he’s learned from the injuries he’s faced have not been the only key to his success, however.

“I’ve found that the best way to improve is to learn to enjoy doing the little bit of extra work, even when it’s not necessarily what you want to be doing,” Hafferty said. “If you’ve got the right mentality regarding what you’re focusing on, you can find a little laugh here and there and always find ways to enjoy the process.”

It is these small moments of fun which continue to motivate Hafferty’s commitment to his soccer career as he anticipates moving back to Washington and playing for the Seattle Sounders.

“I’m above and beyond excited to go back home and be able to represent my hometown,” Hafferty said. “I can’t wait to get into an environment where I know that there’s going to be people that are better than me, people that know a lot more than I do, and just hope to continue growing and learning. I just can’t wait to play on a professional field.”