Keasel Broome is ready to begin his professional soccer career in earnest. After an outstanding tenure at Providence College, which included leading the Friars to a Big East title and a College Cup final four appearance in his senior year, Broome was poised to burst onto the pro scene. The San Jose Earthquakes selected him with the 46th overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, but the onset of injuries threatened to derail Broome’s career before it ever really got started. The 24-year-old goalkeeper is now in camp with the USL’s Bethlehem Steel FC, and hopes to make the most of the opportunity.
Broome headed into camp with the Earthquakes already struggling with shoulder instability. Trainers informed him that an an intensive strength and conditioning regimen could keep him going for some time, but surgery would become a necessity at some point. After aggravating the injured shoulder in camp, San Jose released him, which Broome understood.
“It was tough, but I knew that it wasn’t anything personal. It was just a situation where they couldn’t wait for me to rehab my shoulder, and they needed to think about the start of the season,” Broome said. “No hard feelings whatsoever.”
The decision to go ahead with a surgery to repair the injured shoulder was put on hold. The surgery required six months of recovery, which would have put clubs halfway through their seasons. Filled rosters and budgets would have left Broome without a job.
Instead, Broome worked diligently to rehabilitate his shoulder for six weeks, then went on trial with the New York Cosmos during their preseason. He impressed head coach Giovanni Savarese and earned a contract. Misfortune frowned upon him again when a wrist injury led to Broome’s release before the Cosmos truly got to see him at his best.
After being released by New York, Broome quickly underwent surgeries to repair his shoulder and wrist, never giving up on his dream to become a pro.
“Soccer is all I wanted to since I was a little kid. I know how good I can be. I know how good I am. Once I’m 100% healthy, I know it’s going to be hard for anyone to deny me an opportunity. I just have to be patient,” Broome said.
He continued, “Being pretty much 100% healthy now, I can see the difference and I can feel the difference in my play.”
Perhaps it is Broome’s previous experience with overcoming obstacles that has helped him deal with setbacks early in his professional career. In December of 2012, Broome’s junior year in college, he found out his father had terminal cancer. He commuted from Providence to his hometown in Delaware every weekend. He continued his education, continued to play soccer, and continued to work.
“I was able to keep my grades up and do everything I needed to do to keep going, but it was tough on me personally, emotionally, physically,” Broome recalled. “At the end of the day, I look back and I would do it all over again, but it’s something that I had to overcome. I learned a lot about myself within that time.”
The difficult lesson in perseverance paid dividends for Broome. After putting forth the effort to recover from the surgeries, several USL and NASL teams expressed interest. Ultimately, he accepted an invitation to join Bethlehem Steel FC as a trialist in preseason camp.
Broome provided a long list of reason that Bethlehem Steel FC was his first choice. It started with the fact that he is a long-time fan of the Philadelphia Union, BSFC’s parent club.
He is also familiar with the organization’s technical staff. He played under BSFC Head Coach Brendan Burke in 2012 at Reading United in the USL PDL. Both Jim Curtin and B.J. Callaghan on the Union staff coached Broome’s youth club, FC Delco, when he was in high school.
The club’s proximity to his home in Delaware also factored into his decision to opt for the opportunity at Bethlehem. It affords him the ability to return home if necessary and allows his family to attend matches.
To this point, Broome is pleased with how camp is going.
He said, “So far it’s going pretty well. I feel like I’m playing well. I’m excited for the opportunity to be here and prove myself to everybody, so it’s been good so far.”
Broome knows that a roster spot is not guaranteed. Including him, BFSC started camp with three goalies. Samir Badr transferred to Bethlehem from Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in the off-season. Another trialist named Collin also accepted an invitation to camp.
“All three of us are working very hard. Samir, as a signed player, doesn’t have as much pressure as me and Collin,” Broome said. “I think it’s good having a competition. I think we’re all showing that we’re good quality goalkeepers and every day trying to get better.”
The situation in Bethlehem seems suited for Keasel Broome, but if it does not work out for some reason, he will keep on keeping on. He would pursue opportunities with the other USL and NASL teams that have expressed interest. He also looks forward to another call-up with the Barbados national team at the end of March for the Caribbean Cup.