By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Megan Stueve and Brandon Williams, recognized at Missouri Southern’s athletes of the year during Tuesday night’s student-athlete awards ceremony, are launching professional careers.
Stueve is a member of the new Kansas City Shock team in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
Williams was selected in the third round of last month’s NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens, the reigning Super Bowl champion.
“It’s very cool,” Stueve said. “It’s definitely an honor to be athlete of the year next to Brandon Williams. Being in the NFL is definitely huge. I’m very proud of him. It’s neat that Missouri Southern athletes are going to the next level.”
Stueve’s signing with the Shock approximately one month ago provides a homecoming of sorts. She was a standout at Lee’s Summit High School before coming to Missouri Southern.
The Shock plays in the nine-team Midwest Division of the Women’s Premier Soccer League. The league was formed in 1988 and has 73 teams in 12 divisions.
“Our first practice is May 14, and our first home game is the 25th against the U.S. National Deaf Team,” Stueve said. “Then we’ll go to St. Louis, we’ll go to Illinois, we’ll go to Iowa. It’s the biggest league in the world.”
Stueve led the MIAA and the region with 13 goals, including four game-winning goals. She earned first team all-conference and all-region honors.
Williams was named on five All-America teams and was defensive player of the year in the league and Division II. He became the Lions’ record holder with 27 career quarterback sacks.
Williams was back in Joplin after attending a rookie mini-camp last weekend in Baltimore.
“It went well,” Williams said. “It was just like practice. We didn’t put in the whole playbook but we learned the playbook on the go. It was basically meetings and practice, meetings and practice, meetings and practice. That’s pretty much all we did.”
Williams plans to leave Thursday to go back to Baltimore for the start of Monday’s OTAs (organized team activities).