SLSG Illinois is pleased to announce that Seth Rudolph of Belleville, Illinois has signed his first professional contract with Swedish club Sandviken IF. As a youth player, Rudolph played for SLSG Metro in the first two seasons of the US Development Academy and was a member of the Central Conference Starting XI in 2009 after scoring 19 goals in his final season with the SLSG Metro US Development Academy. Rudolph went on to play collegiately at George Washington University in Washington DC. While at GW, Rudolph scored 29 career goals making him the 7th all-time goal scorer for the Colonel’s and co-Captained the team his senior year.
According to SLSG Illinois’ Blake Decker who coached Rudolph both at Metro and Belleville West High School, “Seth signing a professional contract should come as no surprise to anyone who has worked with him or seen him work. He has had a professional mentality as long as I’ve known him. In high school, when other guys were out with friends or sleeping in on weekends, Seth was out training, often by himself. This did not change as he progressed into college and he was a common fixture at the Collinsville Complex during the summers while in college whether training with the 18 Academy, playing with the U19s, training with the U20’s as well as often training by himself. For any young player who says they want to be a professional, Seth is the prime example of what type of commitment it really takes to make it.”
Rudolph joins a long line of former Metro United players who have joined the professional ranks, but is the first player from the SLSG Metro era to sign a professional contract. SLSG Illinois Program Director, Dale Schilly, commented, “While we have produced a number of professional players in era prior to the US Development Academy, Seth is our first former Academy player to sign a professional contract. Given that he is from our second Academy class, there will certainly be more to follow. The entire SLSG Illinois would like to congratulate Seth and wish him a long and successful professional career.”
Always eager to help the club for which he played as a youth, Rudolph took some time out of his training in Sweden to answer questions for our current SLSG Illinois youth players:
1) When did you know you wanted to play soccer professionally?
Ever since I was a young kid I’ve always wanted to play professionally. As many kids do, I looked up to professional athletes and always dreamed of being one.
2) What sacrifices did you have to make to become a professional?
I sacrificed a lot of time, energy, and social life to make my dream happen. I spent countless hours running, training, and traveling for soccer. Also, I would skip seeing friends to train or go to bed early because of having a match the next day. Soccer involves a lot of travel to games and tournaments, which usually take place on the weekends, so that would prevent me from seeing my friends.
3) How are you adjusting to living in a different country?
I have been just going with the flow of my teammates. The club and my teammates are very helpful. It’s a small town, so there isn’t many distractions. It’s been a pretty smooth transition.
4) When trying to find your first professional club, did anybody tell you “no”? If so, how did you deal with that?
I did a tryout in Virginia that I did not perform very well in. I didn’t play to my abilities, so the coach advised me that maybe I was not ready or good enough for the level. Personally, I enjoy when people say I can’t or tell me “no” because it gives me motivation when I need that little push, or I don’t feel like getting off the couch.
5) How did you end up in Sweden with Sandviken IF?
I had spoke with Andy Stadler who I played with at GW about how he had gotten his trial in Sweden. Stadler also plays at Sandviken. A few months after we spoke, he asked if I would wanted to do a trial at Sandviken IF so I sent over some film for their staff to review. A few weeks later, I got a call on a Wednesday that said pack your bags, we would like you to start a trial in Sweden on Sunday.
6) What is your most memorable or lasting experience from your time at SLSG Metro?
My most memorable moment was playing against the U17 US National Team during the first year of the development academy. There was a large crowd because the game took place during the KSHE 3v3 tournament. My favorite moment of that game was when I scored to tie the game.
7) What advice can you give a young player who wants to play professionally?
I would advise a young player to work hard. Many people do not realize how much work you need to put in. The best players are gifted, but they also work the hardest behind the scenes. Also, don’t give up. There are many people that may not like how you play or think that you’re not good enough. I have had countless people say no or doubt my abilities, but I turned it into that extra sprint or the extra finishing after training.
Sandviken IF will resume play in the Swedish Football League next weekend after a 3 week mid-season break. Rudolph looks to join the squad for matches soon after their return to action.
With more than 25 national championships and numerous alumni who have gone on to the college, professional and international levels of soccer, St. Louis Scott Gallagher is accustomed to making history.
The club celebrated yet another milestone Saturday night, Aug. 24, with a gala event that kicked off SLSG’s “Living Legacy Fund.” Established in memory of five deceased SLSG players — Joe Green, Ryan Simmons, Colin Fahrenkamp, Kevin Lindsay and Bobby Rhine — the fund aids SLSG members needing financial assistance to compete for the club.
SLSG hopes to raise $100,000 over the next 12 months, which would create three to five scholarships. The 10-year goal is to raise $1 million, which would provide 50 annual scholarships.