Brad Stuver's Hard Work Pays Off With MLS Draft Pick
Twinsburg graduate Brad Stuver was the 32nd pick in the MLS SuperDraft by the Montreal Impact. He talked to Twinsburg Patch about becoming a professional athlete.
These athletes once donned their blue and white Twinsburg Tiger uniforms and now are professional athletes in their respective sports.
Stuver was the most recent addition to such an elite group after he was drafted by the Montreal Impact with the 32nd pick in the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday.
"I'm feeling great," Stuver said Friday afternoon. "It's sunk in that I get to play pro soccer."
One of several goalkeepers in the draft, Stuver was the first one selected this year. He is the first-ever MLS draft pick from Cleveland State, according to the school's athletic department.
"I was very shocked at first," he said. "I didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t think I’d be the first goal keeper pulled off the board. I was very excited."
He wasn't the only one surprised.
His father, Ron Stuver, said Friday that there were many terrific goalkeepers from big-name schools in his draft class and that Brad might get overlooked.
"We felt Brad was number one or number two," Ron Stuver said. "But he came from little Cleveland State. We knew what he had to overcome was the lack of name recognition."
But even at a lesser-known school like Cleveland State, Brad was training for teams like Montreal and Seattle during his junior year and getting more attention in his final season.
"Those trips really got my name on some radars my senior season," Brad said.
Brad believes it was his tireless effort and dedication to the sport he loves that put him in such a prime position.
"I’m looking forward for the opportunity to come into this," he said. "I’ve worked extremely hard to get where I did today."
But even as he's ready to jet off to Montreal to start a professional soccer career, he won't forget the family and community that got him there.
His mother, Leanne, and his father were at every game since he was four years old. His older brother, Ryan, played soccer too, so the parents would switch off, one cheering the elder while the other supported the younger.
"It’s been great. They’ve always been the best support system I could ask for."
"My wife Leanne and I are extremely pround of him and excited," Ron said.
Just like his supportive family, Brad is thankful for the community of Twinsburg and its members who have supported him all these years.
"I love Twinsburg," he said. "It will forever be my home."
He was a four-time All-League Goaleeper and the team captain in 2008, the same year he was voted All-Ohio Goalkeeper by the OSSCA. Stuver holds the school's all-time shut out record at 26.
"I want to thank the community as a whole," Brad said. "So many people have been a big part of my life. They’ve always cheered me on and rooted for me. It’s just been great."
He specially thanked his coaches at Twinsburg, Mike Lally and John Garber. He said both men helped him grow as a player and put him in a position to succeed.
Ron said when Brad was younger, he always looked up to the soccer players in high school. Now, the younger generation will be looking to him for inspiration and motivation.
To those players, he offers his wisdom.
"Just keep working hard to get the next level. It takes a lot of sacrifice. No one understands what it takes. Listen to your coaches. You need to find the right team to push you to the next level."