2010: B.S.S. Sports Management
Dustin Cleaver, who earned his bachelor’s in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy in 2010, has loved soccer since he started playing at the age of 5.
A one-time college soccer player he dreamed of one day being in professional soccer. Now, he is. Cleaver began working this year for Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes as the team administrator.
Cleaver’s oversees all aspects of the team from booking flights for the games to managing the facilities.
“I’m always on call,” he says.
The Quakes have gotten off to a slow start this season with a record of 2-3-2 in its first seven games, dropping them into sixth place in the Western Conference. Its top players—Alan Gordon, Steven Lenhart and Chris Wondolowski—have been on the field at the same time only once this season. Last year, the trio combined for 50 goals.
This season is San Jose’s last in Buck Shaw Stadium. A new18,000-seat stadium is scheduled to open in 2014 after breaking ground in October. The team, in fact, set a Guinness World Record for the largest participatory groundbreaking with 6,256 fans armed with shovels, smashing the previous mark of 4,532 set by a group in Jaipur, India.
The 37-year-old Cleaver took time out before a soccer game in Portland, Ore., to discuss his goal of becoming a MLS general manager, the Earthquakes’ organization and his desire to pursue his master’s at the Academy.
Alumni Network: Did you always want to be involved in soccer?
Dustin Cleaver: Growing up, I was always about soccer. I played it all my life. And played one year in college until I became a dad. I’m loving this. I’m definitely on the career path where I’ve always wanted to be. I’d like to eventually become a general manager. Director of soccer operations is the next step. But if I died today, I would definitely die a happy man.
Alumni Network: How has the new job been so far?
Dustin Cleaver: What I like about the San Jose Earthquakes is they have a mom and pop feel. They’re easy to work with and not too corporate of a place yet. I like the family atmosphere here. Everyone I work with from the players to the coaches and administrators are absolutely amazing. I can tell the coaches here really care for the players and it’s not like that at all places.
Alumni Network: What do you like about the Academy’s 100 percent online sport education program?
Dustin Cleaver: The United States Sports Academy really lets you balance your life between your family and work. It’s great for anyone who is looking for that balance and who is wanting to move on in his career. The teachers and classes in sports management definitely prepared me for the job I have now, especially working with budgets and doing the administration and business side of sports. Attending the Academy is the best thing I’ve done school wise. I plan to continue in the master’s program. I think it will lead me to the GM position I’m searching for.