SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)–Exiting a College Cup Hero, 5th-year senior goalkeeper Russell Shealy left the Syracuse men’s soccer program to embark on a new journey in Major League Soccer.
Shealy was one of five Syracuse men’s soccer players to get selected in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, more than any other program. Shealy was selected 52nd overall by the league’s most historic club, the Los Angeles Galaxy. Shealy says putting on the Galaxy badge every day feels surreal.
“It’s awesome,” Shealy said. “Sometimes I look at the badge, look at the facilities, the stadium, and just think, wow, I am really lucky to be here.”
“Lucky” is being humble. Shealy was third in the NCAA in clean sheets with ten and had one of the lowest goals against averages in 2022.
Shealy says transferring from University of Maryland to Syracuse during his sophomore season was huge for his professional development.
“It was one of the best decisions of my life to go to Syracuse,” Shealy said. “You know, I transferred from Maryland, and not that I couldn’t develop there, but I just think it was the best thing for me.”
Going from the college game to the pro game is a huge environmental change, and not just leaving snowy Syracuse for sunny Los Angeles. He’s going from being the guy in college to having to earn his spot with the LA Galaxy. Shealy has a very positive look on this.
“You’re always trying to develop, so I don’t think it is anything different here,” Shealy said. “You know, just trying to build relationships with the teammates and the coaches. You know, do the best you can.”
Syracuse soccer assistant coach Sean Lawlor believes Shealy has all the tools he needs to make it in the pros, one of which being his lovable personality.
“He’s just a ray of sunshine every time you walk in a room,” Lawlor said. “Even if he’s having a bad day, he’ll never show it. You just feel energized, or at least put a smile on your face when he walks in a room.”
Shealy likely won’t know if he receives an MLS contract until the roster compliance day on Feb. 24. Until then, Shealy will continue to train with the club and, of course, light up the room.