Regardless of his Next Move, Lower Cape May’s Matt Szczur has Enjoyed a Great Two-Sport Career

Regardless of his Next Move, Lower Cape May’s Matt Szczur has Enjoyed a Great Two-Sport Career
Matt Szczur has enjoyed quite a career in two sports since graduating from Lower Cape May in 2007. There aren’t many athletes who can say they won a national championship in football and a baseball World Series. Szczur helped lead Villanova to the 2009 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in 2009 and was a member of the Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series team.
 
This spring and now into the summer he was hoping to earn a spot with the Phillies, but on Sunday he was released.
 
Where the next step for the 30-year-old Szczur remains to be seen, but no matter what happens, he has accomplished quite a bit in two sports.
 
As a junior at Villanova in 2009, Szczur was a consensus first-team all-American as a receiver-wingback and the Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year and Special Teams Player of the Year. He was also named the MVP of the national title game when the Wildcats scored a 23-21 win over top seeded and previously unbeaten Montana.
 
In that game Szczur rushed for a career-high 159 yards and two TDs on 14 attempts. He added four receptions for 68 yards and returned two kickoffs for 43 yards
 
For the season in 15 games Szczur had 51 receptions for 610 yards and four TDs and rushed for 813 yards (7.5 avg.) and 10 TDs. He also went 4 for 4 or 22 yards and TDs passing and averaged 27.2 yards on 30 kickoff returns, including an 87-yard TD.
 
In his first baseball season in 2009 he hit .346 (65-188) with 45 runs scored and 24 RBI. In 2010 he was a third-team all-American in baseball.
 
He was then selected by the Chicago Cubs in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. Szczur originally signed for a $100,000 bonus and played minor league baseball that summer before returning in the fall to play football at Villanova. Following the 2010 football season, Szczur was invited to the NFL Combine. The Cubs then raised the offer to $1.5 million bonus to commit solely to baseball, which he did by signing a contract in January of 2011.
 
Szczur had also been drafted in 2007 out of high school by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 38th round but chose to attend Villanova).
 
An outfielder, he made his MLB debut in 2014, appearing in 33 games for the Cubs.
 
In 2016 he was a member of the Cubs World Series winning team. Szczur hit .259 with five home runs and 24 RBI in 200 plate appearances.
 
He played parts of four seasons with the Cubs and two more with the San Diego Padres. Last year he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks Triple-A Reno team, batting .322 in 172 plate appearances.

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No matter what the next move is, Szczur will always go down as one of the most impressive multi-sport collegiate athletes from South Jersey.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo Courtesy of Villanova University

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