Thursday, February 22, 2018 -- Another Arizona player is joining the professional ranks as forward Sam Gleadle has signed with USL's Reno 1868.
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"I’m very happy to have signed my first contract. It’s something I have been working towards my whole life and this is the ultimate reward," Gleadle said. "I’m very grateful to my family and friends and past coaches that have pushed me and kept giving me confidence that I could get to this moment. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. Being a professional footballer is a great feeling and I thank Reno 1868 FC for giving me the opportunity to feel this way."
Gleadle just graduated from the University of New Mexico where he appeared in 70 matches scoring five goals and recording 12 assists. He attended Campo Verde High School, where he scored 56 goals, and he played one year for the Real Salt Lake - Arizona Academy in Casa Grande (2013).
He was a member of the '96 Scottsdale Blackhawks and he credits them with helping his development.
"I played on the '96 Blackhawks team with coach Adam Burke. Throughout my time on this team, we always had a really strong chemistry and belief in ourselves. If you look now, many of the guys played at a high level in college and some are pros now. It’s great to see the guys on the team still achieving their dreams, whether that be soccer or not.
While every players path to the professional ranks is unique to that player, Gleadle offered his advice on those looking to one day play pro.
"My advice for kids is to continue enjoy playing. The minute it becomes a burden to play, it’ll become harder and harder to make it. You have to enjoy working hard everyday and then the rewards will come. Do not be afraid to fail either. Take shots, dribble a couple defenders, and more. Without risks you won’t learn and without failing you won’t learn what to work on. So be positive and work hard and don’t be afraid to fail."