By Donald O’Mahony, Staff Writer

Former George Mason University men’s soccer goalkeeper Sean Kelley had always hoped for the opportunity to play professionally, but it was never his intention to ignore a call from one of the Major League Soccer teams.

The spring semester was underway, and in late January, a phone call from an unknown number disrupted Kelley during class. He thought nothing of it until he received a call from Patriots Head Coach Greg Andrulis a little bit later.

“I knew something was up because my coach never calls me,” Kelley said in an article on “I figured it out. I just wanted to run out of class and head on over here. It was a pretty exciting time.”

The unknown number turned out to be FC Dallas goalkeeping coach Drew Keeshan, who called to inform Kelley that the team wanted him to come to Texas and train with the chance of earning a contract.

“I had not been doing a whole lot since the end of the season, so [Andrulis and I] started a training program,” said Kelley.

Twice a week, he and Andrulis went over goalkeeping drills in his preparation for professional soccer.

The sudden change of plans raised some questions for Kelley involving his academic career.

“It was tough to figure out what I had to do with my classes,” said Kelley. “I had to call my professors and tell them I might be back, but I wasn’t sure. They gave me a two-week window in case I got cut that I could come back, but I’m still here.”

In a situation that could have been difficult because graduation was so close, Kelley’s parents have been nothing but helpful.

“My parents have been really supportive,” said Kelley. “They said I can always go back and finish school, but this might be the only chance to chase my dream.”
Kelley could not be going into training at a more exciting time. With the World Cup approaching this summer, a few of the players are battling for a spot on the American roster.

“It’s a big opportunity for these guys, and they are extra serious, if that’s possible,” said Kelley. “It adds to the environment in training. They were away for national team camp for a while and you could tell something was missing. They add an extra spark when they are here.”

One player in particular stood out to Kelley when it came to the training ground.

“Heath Pearce is a defender, but he could play almost anywhere on the field,” said Kelley. “He is really consistent and works very hard. When he’s not in the game, his presence is greatly missed.”

Another common topic among the players is the impending strike. The players’ union has been negotiating with league officials in Washington, D.C. recently, but if no deal is struck by March 25, the players have agreed that a strike is necessary.

“No one wants a strike, but there have been disagreements between the union and the league,” said Kelley. “I hope it all works out, but it’s really up in the air.”
Regardless of the outcome, getting the opportunity to play professionally has been an experience that not everyone gets in life — the chance to chase a childhood dream. If Kelley shows the drive that he had during his time at Mason, then it will be quite a while until he finally graduates.