Shaw a rising star for Staples soccer
For her club team, Beachside, Lydia Shaw is a dynamic midfielder who is on the ball often and called upon to make plays for her team. When on the field in Staples blue and white, Shaw is an uber-talented forward with a rocket of a shot and pace to burn any defender.
Two separate skill sets combine to make one outstanding soccer player, and one that’s rapidly gaining notoriety. Shaw is drawing interest from Division I and Division III schools, and has two more years to continue to develop her impressive game before the next level.
“What she gives during the games, she gives at practice,” Staples coach Barry Beattie said. “She only has two gears: zero percent and 120 percent.”
It didn’t take long for the coaching staff at Staples to notice Shaw’s abilities during preseason before her freshman season. Then an assistant, Beattie watched Shaw stand out in the team’s first preseason game, and he noted it was immediately apparent she was a varsity player. She was one of seven ninth graders to make the team, and has featured in most games since.
Shaw began playing the sport in her backyard with her dad and sister before kindergarten, and jumped into the competitive fray at the U-9 level. By the time she was 12, Shaw was in the Beachside program and making a mark.
Last spring, Shaw helped Beachside U-15s win its first ever state championship.
“I was drawn to team sports and making friends,” Shaw said. “I first played with (fellow Staples standouts) Tia Zajec, Elizabeth Mitas and Charlotte Rossi when I was nine, and they’re still my best friends on the team. I’m competitive, soccer is good for me.”
Shaw ignited an attack for Staples that took the FCIAC by storm last year. The Wreckers went 10-2-4 - scoring 52 times - in the regular season before earning a share of the conference title and reaching the state quarterfinals. Shaw noted the highlight of the season was an emphatic 4-0 win over New Canaan in the FCIAC semifinals during which she scored twice.
She’s not just a talented athlete, though. Her tough tackling and passion has resulted in her name being written in the referee’s notebook a time or two, but it’s a trait that has a more positive affect than a negative one in the eyes of Beattie.
“I love it,” Beattie said. “What people don’t see is that from the first minute she’s a target; (other players) close her down faster and she can channel her frustration towards being calm and bringing intensity.”
“Maybe that is a bit of my personality,” Shaw said. “I try to stay contained as I can but it can bring to energy to other people on the field. Not the getting (yellow) cards necessarily, but the energy can motivate.”
After being surrounded by seniors during last year’s run, Shaw will enter this fall in an entirely new position in 2015. She will be the captain and will be looked upon to lead a young group.
“We’ve already challenged her by making her captain of the whole Staples program,” Beattie said. “We’re going to have a tough season with the players we’ve lost; we might have to lean on (Shaw) more.”
Though Shaw has two completely different roles for her club and school, they may converge together this fall. With the departure of both of its center midfielders, Staples may a new field general in the middle of the park.
Like most superstars, Shaw works year round to keep up her game. With the Beachside season over, the sole focus is keeping in shape during summer practices to lead the Wreckers in the fall.
“I hope to be a good leader and set a good tone for everyone on the field,” Shaw said. “We want to win a lot, do well in states and FCIACs. We want to be good competition against teams we haven’t been able to beat.”