Preparing for his senior year at Archbishop Ryan, Christian Shoemaker reflects on what he’s accomplished, and looks forward to leading the team.
During the fall, Christian Shoemaker plays soccer just about every day.
Then during the offseason, he does the same.
Shoemaker is a senior center back on the Archbishop Ryan High School soccer team, and no matter how many times he takes the field, he’s always ready to do it again.
It’s not a huge part of his life. It is his life.
“I would say I play every day I’m able to, I’d say about 300 days a year,” Shoemaker said. “I play for Ryan, I play for my club team, summer leagues, I play for an indoor team in Fox Chase. Other than rest days, and a few days I take off in the summer, I play every day. Whenever I get a chance to play, either mess around or play serious, I do it.”
That experience could come in handy this year.
Shoemaker is one of four players to enter the season as a fourth-year starter. Along with George Montag, Jeremy Madrid and Will Stackhouse, Shoemaker worked his way up from a novice high school player to a guy who comes in with a lot of experience.
That means he’s fully prepared to offer more than his skills on defense.
“Our talent level is better this year, so me and the rest of the seniors are trying to set a good example and talk when needed,” said Shoemaker, who played outside back a season ago. “I changed positions because at center back, you need to be a lot more vocal. I need to know what everyone is supposed to be doing and set everything up. That’s the biggest thing about the change.
“I’m pretty vocal, at least in soccer. I’m good with the role. Last year, we had great leaders, especially at the position, so I’m just going to do what they did.”
Last year, the Raiders advanced to the Catholic League quarterfinals before falling to Archbishop Wood.
This year, the Catholic League is once again stacked, but that doesn’t impact Shoemaker’s expectations. He’s been around for four years, and he anticipates a special season.
“I grew up in Parkwood, and I know how great Ryan has been for years,” Shoemaker said. “Last year, we were better and I think this year we could be even better.
“We started working so hard this year. We did two-a-days, we did a lot of drills, we ran miles every day. Now we’re getting into practicing, playing together. We have a lot of talent on this team, and we’re ready to bring a championship back home.”
Shoemaker expects a jam-packed senior year, both on and off the field.
This summer, he worked at the Philadelphia Pretzel Factory at Philadelphia Mills (formerly Franklin Mills). He is unable to work as much as he’d like during the fall, but he will stay busy in other ways.
“I’m an ambassador for the school, I like doing it because I love Ryan so much,” he said. “We pretty much just do things to promote the school. We do a lot of activities, whatever we can do to get people to come here.”
Next year, Shoemaker hopes to play soccer in college.
He also has a major picked out, but is unsure what he wants to do with it.
“I love arts, so I want to do something in design,” Shoemaker said. “I want to play soccer. I’d like to play (Division I), but I’ll do whatever I can.
“I’ve always loved art. I’ve always had a skill for it. I’m not sure what it will lead to, but there are a lot of things you can do when you go into that kind of field.”
He also hopes to continue to star on the soccer field.
This summer, Shoemaker helped the Raiders win the Huntingdon Valley Summer League.
Summer league titles might not mean a lot, but for Shoemaker, it was a great way to start his senior soccer season.
“This was the first soccer title Ryan won in a while, so it felt really good,” Shoemaker said. “We played a lot of close games. And there were good teams in it. Wood was in it and they were very good. We beat Abington in the finals and they are good, too. We swept through the regular season, but when we got to the playoffs, every game was close. We had to play well to get the championship.”
That’s the way he intends to play during his final year.
A summer league championship is nice, but nothing beats a Catholic League title.
“I think this could be the first chapter in a really great run for Ryan,” Shoemaker said. “Everyone is so excited. Last year, we came a long way, but we’re really ready for this year, especially the seniors. We worked really hard to get here, and now it’s our year.” ••