ST. LOUIS - Every kid has big dreams of becoming a professional athlete, and STL FC and Chicago Fire defender Patrick Doody is no exception.
The Naperville, Ill. native has traveled light years from early morning pee-wee soccer practice to now playing under the lights of an MLS stadium.
Growing up, Doody experienced great success at the high school level, playing alongside fellow current Saint Louis FC players Bryan Ciesiulka and Bryan Gaul.
“I started getting recruited to play college soccer during my sophomore year of high school,” Doody said. “I committed to Indiana by Christmas of my junior year.”
As Doody's collegiate career progressed, so did his talent. His career highlight was being a member of the Indiana team that won the NCAA National Championship in 2012.
“Winning the National Championship was probably the coolest part of my college career,” he said. “Having an assist on the game’s only goal was even more special. I’ll never forget that.”
Having played in the Chicago Fire youth system beginning at age 15, Doody became a homegrown player with the club. Therefore, the Fire signed him to a pro contract before another MLS club could draft him out of college.
“Being from Chicago and having the chance to play for my hometown club, it was very special for me,” Doody said. “It was a dream come true.”
A recent college graduate, Doody joined the Chicago Fire this past January. Two months later, he was loaned to Saint Louis FC ahead of the club's inaugural 2015 USL season.
“A lot of younger guys get loaned out,” he said. “That’s what’s cool about the affiliation (between MLS and USL); you get an opportunity to improve in a professional environment. Its so important to get that game repetition.”
During his stint with Saint Louis FC, Doody has made 10 starts, registering two assists from his outside back position. Doody has also been one of the team's primary corner kick takers.
Off the field, Doody has taken a liking to St. Louis, a city he knew little about before his move in March.
“I’ve really enjoyed St. Louis,” Doody said. “I love Forest Park, and the Zoo is fantastic. The Science Center is cool too.”
However, the traditions from Chicago still resonate with the 23-year-old.
“A good deep dish from Chicago is pretty hard to beat,” he said. “But I'm over-the-top obsessed with pizza and St. Louis has good options as well. Anything on it, any type of crust, I’ll eat it.”
After a slew of injuries hit the Fire, Chicago recalled Doody on July 7. He started in three consecutive games for the MLS side, including a 1-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC on July 11.
Doody is back with STL FC now, and appeared as a substitute in Saturday's 0-0 draw against Oklahoma City Energy FC.
Regardless of if he's playing in St. Louis or Chicago, Doody aims to always be the hardest working homegrown "Hoosier" on the field.