All-American goalkeeper Colin Shutler will return for his redshirt senior season in the fall of 2020. He was the last line of defense on the nation’s top defensive unit a season ago and eventually helped the Cavaliers reach the College Cup for the 13th time in program history. In addition to earning All-America honors for the first time in his career, Shutler became the first UVA goalkeeper to earn first-team All-ACC accolades since Tony Meola in 1989.
Q: How are you doing and where are you spending the quarantine period? Obviously training conditions are nor ideal but what are you doing to stay prepared for the fall?
Shutler: I am doing well, still adapting and getting used to the whole situation of being home and not being able to go out to the field, but I am finding ways to keep myself busy with school and working out. I am spending the quarantine period at home in Northern Virginia with my family. We live in a rural area, so running on quiet roads is a nice break from being inside. We have a little home gym in my basement that I visit almost every day. My brother and I make time to play soccer tennis outside or just volley the ball back and forth to get touches on the ball.
Q: What has been your communication been like with the coaching staff and your teammates during this time? Who are you most in contact with?
Shutler: The coaching staff has done a great job keeping us connected by having a video chat with all the guys every week. It’s a good way to see the guys’ faces and chat a little about logistics and other soccer related topics. Peter (Alston), our strength and conditioning coach, makes sure we have plans for strength training and fitness. I have been in close contact with Adam Perron, breaking down video of myself and also professional level goalkeepers. I have also been in contact weekly with some of the boys for a Bible study, and with others (past and present teammates) just to check in to see how they are doing.

Q: With the absence of soccer this spring and a little bit more free time, what kind of things have you done off the field? Any TV series recommendations, books or video games that are taking up some of your day?
Shutler:  Although I still dedicate a lot of my time during the day to soccer—whether it is working out, getting touches on the ball, or conditioning—I have had a good amount of time to get ahead on schoolwork and reading as well as taking more care of my body and preparing foods, which I feel like I don’t have enough time to do while at school. The UVA Sports Nutrition team has been providing great recipes for us to make sure we have options for eating healthy at home. Of course, there is still time to chill. I have been watching shows on Netflix—my most recent favorite has to be “Outer Banks”. My family has worked on some puzzles. I have been relearning how to play the piano. And of course, there is always grass to mow or work around the house.
Q: Coach (Ryan) Hopkins, who primarily worked with the goalkeepers, moved on to take a head coaching position at San Diego State. How much of an impact did he have on your game the past two years? You’ve had a little exposure to new assistant coach Adam Perron. Describe what he brings to the table and your impressions so far.
Shutler: When Coach Hops left, it was bittersweet because I was excited for him to have the opportunity to make the step to head coach, and it is great for him to get to be closer to his home and where he went to school. We worked very closely together—he brought a goofy, fun quality to our high-intensity training sessions. I was fortunate to have a few training sessions with Adam before spring break and time away from school. Adam has already helped me with a few critiques of my games and has offered many pointers. I am excited that Adam will bring a new and unique perspective to our training, as I know every goalkeeping coach that I have had the honor of working with has added something new to my game. I can’t wait to get back on the training pitch and work with him more.

Q: One of your best games of the 2019 season came in quite possibly the worst playing conditions in the NCAA semifinal against Wake Forest. What do you remember about that game? What kind of adjustments did not only you have to make but the entire defense has to make in order to be successful?
Shutler: The playing conditions for our national semifinal game against Wake Forest were definitely the worst of the season. After watching the game before us, there was some doubt that we would even be able to play that night. We were fortunate to get to choose to start with the side of the field that had better drainage which allowed us to play to our strength of playing out of the back. In the second half we had to adjust our whole strategy because the ball would not even roll. I couldn’t take a step without my cleats sinking below the water level. Most other games of the season my focus was more on breaking down the opposing team’s press rather than shot stopping. This game against Wake (Forest) required a shift in focus, which thankfully kicked into place when it was needed. 

Q: Describe how cool it was to have your older brother play on the same team for his last season as a college athlete. With the team being as successful as it was it has to be something you guys cherish for the rest of you lives, right?
Shutler: Chris and I are very close in age—14 months apart—so we have usually gone through similar things very close in time. Even though he went to undergrad seven hours from Charlottesville and we hardly saw each other for four years, we talked all the time, playing Fortnite together. I will say that going from rarely being together, to living and training together every day was a real adjustment at first, getting on each other’s nerves, but I would not have had it any other way. Having a season like last fall was amazing enough. Being able to share that with Chris was extraordinary.

Q: They’ll be a lot of new faces in the Cavalier lineup next season, with a couple spring games under your belt how do you think the team was shaping out? And what do you have to do as a fifth-year goalkeeper to help the new guys along?
Shutler: The spring is always unique. There’s always a sense of loss knowing that some of the guys won’t be playing with us again. And there is also a sense of the unknown, as to how others on the team will step into new roles and how new additions to the team might shape us as a unit. We only played two spring games and were starting to get a rhythm down, but there will be more change in August when new faces arrive. What I have learned the most from my four years with this team is how important it is for team members to work well together on and off the field and to push each other in the right ways. Last Fall’s team was so successful because of the incredibly tight bond we developed. I feel my primary role next season will be to make sure the new group develops a similar connection.
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