James Beeston `14 and Mike Matera '14 signed professional contracts this weekend with the Western Mass Pioneers of the American Soccer League (ASL). The ASL makes its debut later this month and is a United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) sanctioned league.
Beeston (Newcastle-Under-Lyme, England) was one of the most decorated student athletes in Siena soccer history. He became the program's first Capital One Academic All-American (Second Team) in 2013, and was one of just 30 Division I candidates nationally for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award entering his final season. The Saints' first two-time First Team All-MAAC selection was also named an NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I All-North Atlantic Region Second Team selection.
Siena's all-time career leader in assists with 29, Beeston tied for second in the MAAC in assists (eight) and tied for fourth in scoring with 20 points in 2013. He finished his career with 51 points, good for seventh on Siena's all-time scoring list.
"I'm delighted to have signed my first professional contract and thankful to the Siena soccer program for helping my progression," Beeston said via text message. "It's a dream come true. The hard work starts now!"
Matera (Trumbull, Conn.) started 65 games at back for the Saints over his four year career. He was an All-Rookie selection as a freshman and an All-Tournament pick as a junior. Matera scored both his career goals as a senior and logged over 6,000 minutes for his career.
The ASL's mission is to operate a financially viable, cost effective regional/national soccer league that delivers teams a genuine, complete, and elite organization and structure at the minor league level, similar to the USL D-3 the Pioneers played in the past. The league will be about player development and player promotion through a strong online database of extensive highlights, player profiles and in depth player analysis to take them to the next level.
The Pioneers were founded in 1997 and started playing in 1998 as a professional franchise. In 1999, the second year of the franchise, they won the USL D-3 Pro League championship. In 2005 they reigned as the regular season champions, were USL Second Division finalists, and hosted the National Championship match. In 2010 they joined the PDL, to focus on developing future professional soccer players. In 2011, the Pioneers created an U20 team, which was designated to play in the Super-20 League. In 2014 the Pioneers launched a professional soccer team to compete in the American Soccer League (ASL). The Pioneers also operate numerous youth camps throughout western Massachusetts.