Former University of Memphis goalkeeper Jake Leeker has signed a professional contract for Real Monarchs SLC on Monday. Leeker will compete against former Tiger and current Richmond kicker Raul Gonzalez.
The Monarchs play in the United Soccer League and are the USL affiliate of Real Salt Lake. The United States Soccer Federation recognizes the USL as a Division II Professional League, one level under Major League Soccer.
“As a coach who has a player signed at the next level, it’s always a joyous moment,” Memphis head coach Richard Mulrooney said. “(The contract) wasn’t given to Jake as he truly earned it, and seeing how much effort he put in during his five years, it’s great to see it pay off for him. He has a tremendous opportunity now, and I have no doubt he will make the most of it.”
Real Monarchs enjoyed a successful 2017 season. The Monarchs claimed the regular season championship with an overall record of 19-5-7. The team plays their home matches at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah.
Leeker was redshirted his freshman year due to his injury. He came back for the 2014 regular season and appeared in three games. He spent more time between the pipes the following season as a redshirt sophomore.
“Jake, as I know, has had aspirations to play pro ever since he stepped foot here on campus five years ago,” Mulrooney said. “It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since his freshman year. He came in with an injury, so he redshirted. But I believe that time watching probably benefited him more than playing, so he could absorb the college game and prepare himself mentally and physically for what was to come.”
In his second year of eligibility, Leeker started 11 matches and recorded two shutouts, an overtime win against UConn and a goalless draw versus USF. The following season, Leeker started all 17 matches in the net for the Tigers, and he finished the season with a career-high six shutouts.
The St. Louis native retained his starting goalkeeper position for his final year as a Tiger. Leeker saved 72 shots and started every match, amassing a career-high 1,552 minutes on the pitch.
Over his five-year career as a Tiger, Leeker was named AAC goalkeeper of the week three times and was a two-time AAC honor roll recipient.
Additionally, Leeker experienced success in the classroom. He made the Dean’s List in 2014 and was named to the Tigers 3.0 club eight times. Leeker graduated in the spring of 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in logistics and supply chain management and is currently earning his master’s degree in business administration through Memphis online.
Jake Leeker sets up for a kick. The former Tiger Goalkeeper signed a professional contract with the Real Monarchs SLC. (Credit-Memphis Athletic Dept)
Current Memphis Tigers men’s soccer coach Richard Mulrooney in action for the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2003 MLS Cup Final, he scored a goal in the Earthquakes’ triumph.