St. Louis City SC mantra going into this season was proving anyone doubted them wrong. That mentality has helped the squad start their inaugural season 4-0-0, an MLS record for an expansion franchise.

Defender Lucas Bartlett is the latest signee with something to prove. Bartlett made his first MLS start last Saturday and played all 90 minutes in St. Louis’ 3-0 win over San Jose, the first ever clean sheet in the team’s history.

Lucas became immersed in soccer, growing up near soccer-crazed Kansas City.

“I grew up and went to the inaugural game in Kansas City,” Lucas said. My family was huge Sporting KC fans at the time. So, I fell in love with soccer and my older brother (professional soccer player Alec) was really my mentor, and pushed me to be better. I followed in his footsteps and everybody’s dream is to become a professional in any aspect.”

In a system that is much more streamlined, Lucas’ path to City SC was more convoluted. He had college stops at Loyola-Chicago, Drake and St. John’s. He was drafted to MLS in 2022 by FC Dallas. However, after FC Dallad declined his contract option this season, City SC gave him a chance.

“They welcomed me with open arms,” Lucas said. “I want to buy into everything they ask. I’ve loved it so far. (St. Louis) is an incredible organization.”

That same organization came into this season with a chip on its shoulder, which Lucas can relate to.

“Not everybody believes in you, and every opportunity is what you make of it. Every opportunity is what you can seize from it and not necessarily prove everybody wrong, but prove yourself right.

“Everyday that is what I try to do, keep improving and continuing to grow,” Lucas said.

Photos used in the story are credited to Loyola University Chicago, Drake University and St. John’s University