The 2010 Marysville-Pilchuck graduate sat at a table, where just in front of him, a few pieces of paper and a pen called his name.
It wasn’t just any stack of paper, though; it was a contract representing the fulfillment of a lifelong goal.
And in an instant, with the stroke of a pen, Ballew was a professional soccer player.
“After two decades of hard work it was funny just how enjoyable signing a piece of paper was,” Ballew said. “You dream about it, you know?”
Ballew, who spent four years honing his craft with the Premier Development League’s Puget Sound Gunners FC, signed with the United Soccer League’s Tulsa Roughnecks FC at the end of March.
After ending his collegiate career at Seattle University, Ballew attended a player combine in Las Vegas, where he caught the eye of David Irving, the Roughnecks’ head coach. The club invited him to its preseason camp in February and three weeks later, they signed him.
Ballew, a forward, formed a close relationship with Gunners owner and head coach Alex Silva, having played for his PDL club every summer since 2011. The club, now based in Issaquah, previously played as the North Sound SeaWolves in Edmonds.
“Alex always had a lot of confidence in me and encouraged me to keep working harder and work on my consistency,” Ballew said of his time with the Gunners. “He provided me with a great platform to get to the pros and I’m forever grateful for that.”
Ballew suited up with the local PDL club for 45 games and scored 13 goals.
Silva said he enjoyed watching Ballew’s game mature over the years. He added that he was humbled he could play a small part in helping Ballew reach his dreams.
“I’ve known Brady for the last four years and I’m very proud to see him getting an opportunity at the professional level,” Silva said. “He’s a good player and more than that, a great person as well. I look forward to continue watching him succeed.”
As a member of the PDL, one of the Gunners’ main goals is to provide its players with a legitimate chance to earn that first professional contract. Opportunities like these are exactly why the PDL exists, Silva said.
“We love to work with players that have the passion and dream to play professional,” Silva said. “We’ll provide the settings and the tools and then is up to them to make it happen.”
Ballew said his time in the PDL is a big reason he’s made it to the pros.
“I would just like to thank the Gunners organization for giving me a place to grow as a soccer player and as a young man,” he said.
“For all of the future Gunners, listen to Alex and his staff. They are knowledgeable and passionate about the game and will work to get you looks at the next level. But nothing replaces hard work.”
- goalWA.net Local Soccer News is sponsored by Pro Roofing Northwest, Kirkland, Bellevue, Seattle, Redmond, Woodinville, Federal Way, Everett, Snohomish, Issaquah, Renton, Kent, Bothell, Edmonds Washington roofing company.