Dawson McCartney was an active child, playing every sport in the book growing up. He watched his older brothers play soccer, and knew it was the game for him in his heart.
At just three years old, McCartney loved the competiveness of the game and taking on the role as a midfielder. At eight years old, he expanded his skills and started travel soccer in South Jersey and moved from team to team until beginning with the Union Juniors.
McCartney has spent a large portion of his life with his teammates and members of the YSC Academy. Everything from the staff to the appreciation for his teammates has been important to McCartney.
“It’s been amazing,” McCartney said. “The staff and everything they do for us, we probably have the best equipment that anyone can ask for. We all share a great bond. Our team we spend every day with each other so we got to know each other really well and help translate that onto the field.”
Growing up, McCartney’s parents were constantly driving him around from practice to practice, sacrificing everything to see him succeed in the sport he loves. Through it all, McCartney has worked hard to get to where he is today, owing a lot of his success to the Philadelphia Union Academy for developing him into a strong player.
While attending the Union Academy, McCartney made 72 appearances over the course of four seasons between the U-16 and U-18 teams.
“It was an amazing experience just moving up in the ranks,” McCartney said. “I started with the U-16’s and moved up to the U-18’s, and then got my chance moving up with Bethlehem Steel. It was amazing to see that pathway open up.”
McCartney was even able to make his first professional debut playing with Bethlehem Steel FC against Charleston Battery. He impressed the coaching staff and made the starting XI playing 73 minutes in the match. He made the starting lineup again when the team faced off against Harrisburg City Islanders, playing 76 minutes and helped lead the team to its 3-1 victory.
The midfielder has seen the pitch three times with Steel, earned 155 minutes of playing time and two key starts.
McCartney is not only driven on the field, but off the field as well. In the fall, he will be attending Dartmouth College playing soccer.
“When I visited Dartmouth, I fell in love with the campus and the people there,” McCartney said. “I thought it was the best combination of academics and athletics I could find in the country and I made my decision.”
Although attending an Ivy League school will be a difficult task, playing professionally continues to be McCartney’s goal and dream.
“It’s been a long way and I have a long way to go, but I’m also enjoying it,” McCartney said.”
“You have to have the most confidence out there, and if you have the confidence you’ll be able to play.”
From playing soccer with a team that’s become family to attending an Ivy League school for a chance to make your dreams come true, with dependable roadside assistance, car care, & hotel discounts, AAA is there to support the journeys of all young athletes & their families as they chase their dreams.