NOVEMBER 26, 2021
Standout Academy Graduate Will Shaffer Represents US Virgin Islands Men’s National Team
• Champion Disney College Showcase Blast FC U19
• Wright State University Collegiate Player
• 4.0 GPA
• Finance Major
• Summer Intern at Shaffer Capital
• Loves Manchester United
• Favorite food is sushi
• Enjoys hiking
We were able to speak to Will about his experiences this past year at Wright State, and most importantly about his time representing the US Virgin Islands National Team. A tremendous achievement for our Blast FC Soccer Academy graduate, and Blast FC U23 Captain. Earning a cap representing your country at the international level is the highest achievement a footballer can achieve, and we are tremendously proud of Will and this amazing achievement. The entire Blast FC family wishes you the best of luck in your budding career, and we cannot wait to see what other great things you will achieve.
He wanted to share some of his experience so that our younger players at the Club may be inspired in what they could achieve with hard work, commitment, passion, and determination.
What was it like joining the US VIMNT in the middle of COVID and your 1st college season?
Once I knew I met the eligibility requirements in the 1st semester, I used the 2nd semester to prepare mentally and physically for the training camp. Coming from Blast FC and using my first college season as a buffer meant that I was well prepared for the technical aspects and demands of the game, but I had to work extremely hard physically every single night over Zoom for weeks in order to prepare for training camp. Spent the 1st week of July preparing physically for the match against Monserrat in the Dominican Republic, and the worst thing to deal with was the heat!
What was the atmosphere like for your 1st and 2nd caps?
The match in the Dominican Republic was much more subdued because of COVID and only family was allowed to attend that game, but the speed and the tremendous technical ability at that level was a joy to witness. My second cap came against El Salvador in St. Croix and the noise from the crowd vibrated the air around you. From the moment we stepped on the field I could literally feel the love and support of the home fans around me. It was like nothing I had experienced before, and an incredible feeling. The Salvadorians were tremendous and extremely technical, but what I noticed even more was how simple and quick the played. Everything was 1-2 touch and you didn’t see anyone failing to trap, or balls bouncing around. IT was fantastic, but we couldn’t get anywhere near them so it was frustrating due to the physical demand, even though I was well prepared. Incredible to see and be a part of!
After this experience, what have you been doing differently as a player?
Everything is different from a physical preparation standpoint, and my mental preparation is much better now. Nutrition, Recovery, Hydration, and Stretching have become part of my daily routine in order to optimize my performance as a player. I’m much more conscious of what I eat, when and how much water I drink, and how much rest I take in between physical activity, not only to avoid injury but to perform at my best. Mental-ly, I make sure to stay on top of myself more than I did in the past. Everyone needs to prioritize mental health to perform well and when I’m overwhelmed my dad is a great go-to that helps me calm down and rebalance. Everyone has bad moments and games, but you need to be resilient and mentally strong in order to compete at the highest levels. Not just reach them, but to compete as well.
What advice would you give to our younger players coming up through our program?
Don’t count on other people to do the work for you. You definitely need to hold yourself accountable, and motivated in order to improve at every opportunity. If you think the guy next to you isn’t working hard, you will get left behind so you really have to be honest with yourself and put in the work. Always do extra work to help you improve.
U15-U18 Blast Away the Competition at KHA Gateway College Showcase
The season has officially kicked off for the entire Club as we welcome back to competition our HS age players representing Blast FC Soccer Academy, the U15 (2007s), U16 (2006s), U17 (2005s), and U18 (2004s) squads. Their first weekend of competition saw them travel to Cincinnati, and its suburbs to play in the KHA Gateway College Showcase. The Club would finish the weekend with 3 champions, and a runner-up. Terrific start to the year gentlemen!
U15 Blue Flight Champions
The 2007s showed strongly, managed 2 clean sheets over 3 games, and were crowned champions with 2 wins and a tie over the course of 3 days. A comfortable 1-0 win over Pride SC in the first day led into a tremendous battle against Cincinnati West SC that would finish in a lopsided, and frustrating 1-1 tie on the second day. The third game was a difficult contest against a physical Falls City Gold, but on a very wet and cold morning the young 2007 squad managed a 1-0 win to finish the showcase as Flight Champions. Fantastic start to the year from our 2007s.
Well-deserved lads, and keep pushing!
U16 Red Runners-Up
The 2006s came determined to impose their quick and aggressive style of play against the competition. The first day saw a tremendous 5-1 win over WV FC, and the second day saw a lead slip to Lexington FC to finish 1-1. Persistent as always, our strong 2006 squad created many chances, but were frustrat-ed at the end of the day against CUP Gold finishing a strong performance with a 0-0 tie. The U16s finish the weekend as runners-up, but with much to be proud of and excited for the future.
This team is just getting warmed up! Very excited for the next one!
U17 Red Champions
The 2005s were very eager for their first taste of competition this season and with a strong perfor-mance started the day brightly, but were unable to convert any chances against KHA finishing with a 0-0 tie. The second day saw our terrific 2005 squad find their groove and they put in a dominating perfor-mance to beat Tennessee United 3-0. Using this momentum in wet and poor conditions, our U17s fought their hearts out against KHA Red and won the match 1-0. A tremendous achievement for the 2005s as they were crowned Champions, and had 3 clean sheets to boot!
Unbelievable weekend lads, and congratulations!
U18 Red Flight Champions
The 2004s set the tempo for the younger squads in the Club by dominating the competition, and winning out the weekend as Flight Champions.
In a testy game between Javanon FC and our experienced U18 squad, squandered chances kept the game on a knife edge. A venomous strike would ensure the 1-0 win for our lads, setting up a saucy matchup between local rivals Barcelona Academy Blue. A difficult start meant the 2004s would have to come back from 0-1 down, but a tremendous second half performance provided a big relief as our lads would win 3-1, and set up a clash against bitter rivals CUP Black and 2 second half goals would ensure an undefeated weekend, with 2 clean sheets for our 2004s.
Congratulations on this unbelievable weekend lads, keep it up!
From the Mobile Desk of Coach Mauricio
Indoor training has now begun and we now have all our teams training multiple times a week at our indoor facility in preparation for the Winter and Spring seasons.
Stay tuned for our next newsletter as we follow another Blast FC Academy graduate, share with you some exciting news about College Recruitment changes at the Club, and tell you all about our teams currently competing.
The future has never been more bright at Blast FC Soccer Academy, and we are very excited! More to come!
Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your holiday break!
Looking Ahead: Indy College Showcase 2021
Our U14-U18 squads will be competing at the Indianapolis College Showcase December 3rd-5th at Grand Park Sports Complex. Please join us in wishing our teams good luck as they compete against some of the toughest regional competition around.
Good luck to all our squads, and we know you will make us proud!
Blast FC Soccer Academy
5620 St. George Ave
Westerville, Ohio 43082