Mason Stajduhar, a four-star rated recruit by Top Drawer Soccer, was recently committed to South Florida until Orlando City Soccer Club offered him a homegrown contract back in November. Stajduhar talks about the process of going from college to pro and his plans for the future. Watch the videos of his highlights and his time with the U20s at the bottom.
You were originally committed to South Florida to play your freshmen year this next fall. What other schools were you looking at and what made USF stand out for you?
USF, Northwestern, UCONN, Wake Forest, Penn State, and Hartford. USF stood out for me because of the head coach, George Kiefer, and the goalkeeper coach, Bryheem Hancock.
With the contract, obviously plans changed. When you committed, did you think a contract was still a possibility or was it a little more of a surprise when it was offered?
To be honest I hadn't even thought about a contract when I committed to USF. But after awhile of training with the [Orlando City] first team it seemed likely that something was in the works.
I don't think I realized there was something besides college then pro. I had played for non-professional clubs in Connecticut (Oakwood SC) and Florida (Chargers SC) my whole life. So I thought that college then pro was the only option. Once Orlando became an MLS side I decided to join them beginning my first year of U-18 and the goal was to get a contract at some point. And it all happened really quickly when I started training with the first team.
What specifically intrigued you about Orlando City to sign with them?
Orlando City is a great club and a really exciting place to be right now. This is the place I wanted to start my career and they gave the opportunity to do that.
Talk about Tim Mulqueen, your goalkeeper coach who has worked with a number of young goalkeepers. What about him sets him apart and helps you as a goalkeeper to continue to develop?
Mulchy is the best. Besides the vast knowledge on goalkeeping he has taught me and how much better I've gotten under him, he allowed me to see what I was capable of and showed me that there aren't any limits. He will always be a great mentor and coach for me.
You’ve spent time with multiple USYNT camps. What was the jump like from DA to playing with the USYNT?
The players are better physically and technically with the YNTs and the game happens faster. But it's still the same sport the DA plays.
Five years from now, what's the dream scenario for you?
Already made my first senior US Appearance, and be one of the best (if not the best) goalkeeper in MLS. Similar to Tim Howard's first five years, hopefully.