EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Former SIUE men's soccer defender Austin Ledbetter has been signed by USL club Saint Louis FC.
Ledbetter was selected by FC Dallas with the 53rd overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. He was not signed by Dallas and joins Saint Louis FC as an unsigned free agent.
"We're proud to have Austin representing SIUE with Saint Louis FC," SIUE Head Coach Mario Sanchez said. "It's exciting that Austin will get to play in front of the great St. Louis area soccer fans. I am confident he was represent SIUE very well."
The 2016 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, Ledbetter also was a two-time All-West Region first team pick by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
"Austin is someone who we are familiar with," STLFC General Manager Jeremy Alumbaugh said at the time of his signing. "He is a product of the SLSG Development Academy and carried that into a quality four years at SIUE where he led them to the NCAA Tournament. He is first and foremost a quality person and his leadership has been a trait since a very young age."
The Cougar defender led SIUE's backline which boasted a goals against average of 0.71 in 2016. He tied for the team lead in goals with six while starting all 22 games. He and his teammates advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Division I Tournament, SIUE's farthest run into the NCAA Division I Tournament since advancing to the national semifinals in 1982.
In his SIUE career, the native of St. Charles, Missouri, made 79 appearances, including 78 starts. Both totals are among the top 10 all-time for the Cougars.
Ledbetter joins a group of more than 70 players who have gone on to play professionally after playing at SIUE.
"The commitment SIUE has to men's soccer is outstanding," Sanchez added. "I am proud that we are producing kids who will ultimately reach their goal of playing professional soccer."