Sole Guardian on USAF Men’s Soccer Team, celebrates 3-2 victory over the Army in 2024-Armed Forces Men’s Soccer Championship

  • Published
  • By Capt. Katelin Robinson
  • Space Base Delta 3

As a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy in June 2023, Lt. Keenan Sweeney joined the United States Space Force as an acquisitions officer, and subsequently became the Space Base Delta 3, Commander’s Action Group Chief at Los Angeles AFB, El Segundo, California.

His love of soccer started at the young age of three, growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. Born to Canadian parents, Sweeney is the first member of his family to serve in the U.S. Military. He played soccer throughout his four years at the Academy and learned of the Department of the Air Force sports program through a poster at the local fitness center.

The first step is to apply on the DAF sports website for consideration to try-out. The online application asks about playing history, experience, and recent game footage/ highlights. It also asked why he would be a good teammate and not just how he could contribute as a player, but as a person.

Out of the roughly 180 online applications, Sweeney was one of the 36 chosen to participate in the rigorous 2-week tryouts at Moody AFB, Georgia. 

“It’s very long and physically demanding as you’re competing every day for a spot. They completed two rounds of cuts. One in the first week and then one in the second week. It’s obviously hard to see some of the guys you’ve gotten close with get sent home, but at the end of the day you want the best players standing next you when you’re going to compete!” He added.

His attitude and hard charging spirit would ultimately land Sweeney, in one of the 18 spots on the team, and the only Guardian to make the cut. Throughout the weeklong tournament, the AF team competed in three matches against the other service branches.

He shared his most memorable experience, “Scoring my first goal for the team against Navy and getting to celebrate with my teammates was awesome, however, the highlight had to be coming back from 2-0 down with ten minutes left in the game against Army in the championship and winning 3-2. I’ve played a lot of soccer in my life and that was definitely an unforgettable experience for me!”

Leaving it all out on the pitch, the AF took home the victory in the Championship Match against the Army at Albany State University, Albany, Georgia, on April 7.

“I’ve always loved soccer. I think it’s a cool opportunity to get to continue to play at a competitive level even while serving on active duty,” he shared.

His advice to others interested in the DAF Sports Program, “Don’t be afraid to put your name out there! The application process is super easy and user friendly. If you’re an athlete and like high level competition, it’s a fantastic platform! You get to meet people from all over the Air and Space forces, officers and enlisted, as well as compete against the other branches which is a unique opportunity.”

The DAF Sports Program involves a variety of sports including bowling, golf, soccer and more, as well as the opportunity to compete at a higher level than your standard, installation level intramurals. Individuals or teams compete against sister services during Armed Forces tournaments. After the service level tournaments, players can also be selected for a U.S. Armed Forces team that competes at the international level.

Next on the horizon, Sweeney hopes to hear a call back to compete on the U.S. Armed Forces soccer team taking on the international stage at the Conseil International du Sport Militaire, or CISM in Azerbaijan next summer.

To learn more about the DAF Sports Program and to apply, visit: