UWF alum soccer star living out his dream
Drafted 43rd overall by the Los Angeles-based Club Deportivo Chivas USA in the 2008 Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft, University of West Florida alumnus Keith Savage, Physical Education '07, almost immediately stepped off the UWF soccer field and leapt into the national soccer scene, grabbing the opportunity to live out the dream that his coaches, teammates, friends and family always knew was possible.
Drafted 43rd overall by the Los Angeles-based Club Deportivo Chivas USA in the 2008 Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft, University of West Florida alumnus Keith Savage, Physical Education ’07, almost immediately stepped off the UWF soccer field and leapt into the national soccer scene, grabbing the opportunity to live out the dream that his coaches, teammates, friends and family always knew was possible.
“UWF has everything to do with where I am now,” said Savage. “My coaches have taught me what I needed to move on and they have always kept confidence in me to go further.”
After playing for Gulf Breeze High School and club soccer for Pensacola Revolution, Savage found the perfect fit at UWF to expand his education and develop his soccer career.
“UWF was my local college and they have an excellent Physical Education program and soccer program,” said Savage. “Also, the facilities are of some the best in the country and the UWF professors and coaches are all great people who have taught me well.”
Making headlines throughout his freshman year at UWF, Savage was named Gulf South Coast (GSC) Freshman of the Year in 2003. In 2005, Savage became the 17th men’s soccer player to earn NCAA Division II All-South Region Tournament Honors and was named to the All-GSC First Team. He became one of two Argonauts to earn NSCAA/Adidas All-American honors in 2006, among many other awards and recognitions. Throughout his college career, Savage scored 47 goals for UWF, the third highest total in the university’s history.
Following his remarkable college soccer career, Savage realized the reward for his hard-work, getting signed by CD Chivas, less than a month after his UWF graduation. Savage was the second Division II player to go in the draft, an accomplishment even he wasn’t expecting.
“The experience was very fast and unexpected actually,” said Savage. “I was very lucky to get a couple of tryouts, and I didn’t think much would come from them. One coach called me and here I am. It was and still is exciting to know and experience what I have this year.”
In April, Savage had his first start as a professional soccer player in front of a crowd of more than 30,000 people; an experience that Savage said wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible support he has received along the way.
“I am thrilled for Keith,” said Bill Elliott, UWF men’s soccer head coach. “He has worked extremely hard every single day and is very deserving. It is awesome for a Division-II player to go to a major league team in any sport, so that speaks volumes for the respect Keith has earned.”
Savage recently came back to UWF to sign autographs and visit his most supportive fans of friends, family and coaches. He hopes to prove himself at the major league level and show that for any athlete, the experience of playing at a major league level is possible.
“Always work hard and take in all the advice you can,” said Savage. “You can learn something from everyone. You never know how far you can go or what you are capable of until you try.”
For more information on UWF Athletics, visit goargos.com.
By Megan Tyson, University Marketing Communications