Taylor believes that Pioneer soccer senior captain, Evan Shambaugh is making the right decision by choosing to play at the next level. Next year, Shambaugh is currently set to attend Albion College to join the Brit’s soccer team.
While he isn’t being recruited to play at the largest universities around the country, Shambaugh still received offers from Olivet College, Alma College, Trine University, and Albion College. “Where I can go, I can go,” says Shambaugh. “It’s division three, but it’s still going to play soccer.”
Ever since academy club teams switched to an 11 month season, the state's most talented players have been disallowed from playing for their high school team. Academy coaches didn't want their top players to risk injury by playing for their respective schools. Consequently, the talent dropped across the board, as did the number of players going on to play college soccer. However, Shambaugh is an exception.
“A lot of the other high school players now just play it for fun, play it because they enjoy it,” says Taylor, “[Evan] just has a different determination now than a lot of other players.”
Shambaugh’s teammate, senior midfield captain Noah Thompson sees why Shambaugh has the ability to progress his soccer career. “Evan is a great teammate and captain,” says Thompson. “He is always showing leadership skill on and off the field.”
With the high competition for jobs in America, most high school student athletes would rather attend a larger, more prestigious university for academics as opposed to continuing their athletic careers. Following his on-campus visit in March, Shambaugh is the mindset that regardless of soccer, Albion is the right fit for him. “Chemistry at Albion is the same as chemistry at Michigan,” says Shambaugh.
“A lot of it comes down to where he feels most comfortable, where he can excel most in the classroom and on the field,” says Taylor. “College soccer is a different monster; you have to earn everything,” says Taylor, “you have to make new friends, you have to fit in, so it’s tough.” Taylor is confident that if Shambaugh had that in mind, that he made the right decision to continue to play the sport he’s loved since age five.
“That’s been one of my goals, whether it was to play division one soccer, or to play division three soccer,” says Shambaugh. “I went in to high school saying that I’m going to work hard and make an effort towards playing.”