CHICAGO, Ill. – After being drafted by the Chicago Fire with the fourth pick of the second round of the 2017 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, former Dartmouth men’s soccer goalkeeper, Stefan Cleveland ’16 has officially signed a contract with the pro team.
“I couldn’t be happier for Stefan,” Chad Riley, Bobby Clark Head Coach of Men’s Soccer said. “He is a great example of what a student-athlete at Dartmouth can be. He received his Engineering degree from Dartmouth while continuing to passionately chase his dream of becoming a professional soccer player. And further, what I respect so much about Stefan is how hard he worked for both achievements. He went from not playing his freshmen year to a two time first team all Ivy League member, an Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year and an MLS draft pick.”
“I would also like to acknowledge the huge role Ryan Fahey played in helping Stefan develop into a great goalkeeper,” Riley added. “Coach Fahey did a wonderful job coaching Stefan during his time at Dartmouth. I can’t wait to follow his professional career.”
Cleveland played his fifth year of eligibility at Louisville this past fall after exhausting his Ivy League Conference eligibility by earning his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in the spring of 2016. The Dayton, Ohio native earned College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America Second Team accolades while playing every minute in goal and starting all 22 matches.
He registered 10 shutouts overall, the most for a Cardinals’ goalkeeper since 2011, and ranked 14th in the nation in goals against average at .710. Cleveland helped lead Louisville to the quarterfinals of the NCAA College Cup and a No. 6 ranking in the final NSCAA Coaches Poll.
“Getting this opportunity to play professionally has been a dream for as long as I can remember,” Cleveland said. “Having said that, however, by no means do I feel satisfied with where I am. Getting here is just another step along the way to having a long professional career as a starter in the league.”
“The biggest difference from college is the competition,” Cleveland added. “You’re not just competing against other kids about your age for playing time. There is such a big age range and various levels of experience here. Additionally, it’s a competition for a paycheck and a lot of these guys have families. The intensity and speed of everything we do is a couple notches higher.”
Cleveland also had a phenomenal career during his three seasons in net for Dartmouth. Cleveland was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year after he led the league in save percentage (.866) and goals-against average (0.62) for most of the season in 2015.
Cleveland also recorded an impressive nine shutouts to complement his 9-4-1 record between the pipes his senior year, leading the Big Green to their second consecutive Ivy League title. He was also named to the 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-American Second Team and was the only Ancient Eight representative to receive this honor.
During his three seasons in Hanover, Cleveland left his mark on the record book, as he is tied for third all-time with 16 career shutouts and is sixth in program history with a 0.99 career goals-against-average.