INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler goalkeeper Jon Dawson won't have to travel far to begin his professional soccer career. After wrapping up four successful seasons with the Bulldogs, Dawson has signed a contract to join the Indy Eleven in the North American Soccer League (NASL).
"I could not be more excited to be a part of Indy Eleven," said Dawson in a release announcing his signing. "I was raised in Indianapolis and went to college here, so to play in front of my friends and family for my hometown club is a dream come true."
Dawson started 19 of Butler's 20 matches in 2013 and helped the Bulldogs to an 11-8-1 campaign. He posted a 1.43 goals against average, and he led the BIG EAST in saves with 93. He had five shutouts, which tied for fifth-most in the BIG EAST.
During his four seasons with the Bulldogs, the Indianapolis native recorded 11 shutouts, 236 saves and a 1.43 goals against average. He played in 52 matches for the Bulldogs, including 51 as a starter.
"We were absolutely delighted to hear about Jon signing with the Indy Eleven Pro Soccer Team," said Butler head coach Paul Snape. "Jon has always possessed the ability to become a professional goalkeeper. He is tall, athletic, courageous, and a very good shot stopper, but we always told him that talent alone is not enough to earn a professional contract. It takes perseverance, sacrifice and a special dedication to the game to be worthy of being called a pro. Jon has really grown in the last couple of years as a goalkeeper, and as a man. His tutelage under Mike Sanich has helped him become more focused, prepared and more hungry to succeed. We wish Jon nothing the best with his future soccer career. We will all be in the stands rooting for him and the Indy Eleven Team this summer!"
Dawson, who graduated from Brebeuf Jesuit High School, picked up summer experience with three different teams in the Premier Development League - the Northern Virginia Royals (2010), the Seacoast United Phantoms (2011) and the Jersey Express (2013). He also played with the Under-23 development squad of Major League Soccer's D.C. United in 2012.
The Indy Eleven will begin play in the NASL this spring. The team's first match is set for April 12 against the Carolina RailHawks at Michael A. Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis.