GW Men's Soccer Alumni Continue Careers in Professional Leagues
May 15, 2012
WASHINGTON - A pair of recent graduates of the George Washington men's soccer program are currently continuing their careers in the professional ranks. Andy Stadler is in his first full season with Sandvikens IF of the Swedish Football Association, while Dave Leon recently signed his first professional contract with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Professional Division.
One of GW's all-time leading scorers, Stadler originally signed with Sandvikens IF last July and competed with the team over the season's final 10 matches, scoring four goals. Sandvikens posted a 14-4-4 record on the year to finish second in Division 2 and earn promotion to Division 1, the Swedish Football Association's third-tier professional league.
"It was tough coming into (last) season and trying to get used to the players, but I thought I did a very good job of adjusting quickly to the game out here and to the team," said Stadler.
Sandvikens began its 2012 campaign in mid-April and has posted a 2-2-1 record through the first five games at the Division 1 level, and Stadler has contributed a pair of assists.
Stadler is the only Colonials' player to earn NSCAA Mid-Atlantic Region First Team honors twice in a career. In 60 career matches, he amassed 35 goals and 83 points, and he was on the Watch List for college soccer's top award, the Hermann Trophy, as a senior in 2009.
Leon, a former teammate of Stadler, has played for competitive amateur teams in the D.C. area since graduating from GW in 2009, and earlier this year he reached out to Riverhounds head coach Justin Evans to request a tryout. Evans liked what he saw and invited Leon to training camp before eventually signing him.
"It's pretty exciting," said Leon. "It's a great feeling, but at the same time, it's a challenge. I want to prove my worth and reward the coaches and organization for signing me."
The Riverhounds are the only professional soccer team in Pittsburgh. They are part of USL Pro, the third-tier professional league in the U.S., according to the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).
A midfielder, Leon has started five of the Riverhounds' first seven games, including the season opener. Pittsburgh is currently 2-5-0 on the year and tied for seventh place in the USL Pro standings.
Leon started 41 of 56 games in his four-year career at GW and recorded 16 points on four goals and eight assists.
"Any time you have former players make it to the pros, it's great for the program," said GW head men's soccer coach Craig Jones. "Knowing what Andy and Dave have gone through to get there is even more important and it's great to see that all the hard work and perseverance has paid off. I have been following both of their careers this season, and I look forward to following them for many more."