A series of relationships with coaches shaped Braydon Shuck’s decision to attend Lebanon Valley College beginning with this fall’s semester.
In addition to playing for the Elizabethtown Area High School boys soccer team, Shuck played for Pennsylvania Classics, an area club soccer team. Tim Mehl was Shuck’s PA Classics coach and also serves as an assistant coach for coach Charlie Grimes at Lebanon Valley College.
The other coach that was instrumental in Shuck’s decision-making process was Patrick Long, now the coach at Lock Haven University after six seasons as an assistant coach at Bucknell University.
Shuck said that he got to know Long because of the camps and clinics that Elizabethtown would take part in over various summers.
“Most of my help came from my club coach at Classics. I really looked into going to Lock Haven. I liked coach Long, but it made more sense for me to go to LVC. It was a little closer. I loved meeting with coach Grimes and love everything that he stands for. His character really pulled me in as well,” Shuck said.
Perhaps after spending a year with coach Grimes, Shuck may have picked up some idiosyncrasies from his coach because Grimes shared a similar sentiment about working with Shuck.
“He is a great person to be around. He’s a great teammate. He’s just a good young man and a good soccer player to go along with it. It’s a privilege to have someone like him,” Grimes said.
When Shuck arrived on campus, he joined a team that was the defending Eastern College Athletic Conference champions and set a single-season program record with 18 wins.
The Dutchmen finished the 2017 regular season 11-4-1, which earned the team the No. 3 seed in the Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth championship. They lost to No. 2 Lycoming College before being selected for the ECAC tournament.
In each those regular season games, Shuck made an appearance for the Dutchmen, including two starts. The 5-foot-9 forward scored two goals, one of which was a game-winner.
“That meant a lot to me. The pace really picks up, but being able to get quality time and playing 35 minutes a game got my feet under me. I was a lot more well prepared,” Shuck said.
Grimes said that being a freshman had no impact on Shuck’s playing time because one of Lebanon Valley’s key program philosophies is to not look at the age of a player, but rather their performance to judge playing time.
“We have several freshmen that have played in every game this year. Braydon’s improvement from preseason until now has been excellent. Not only has that been evident in playing consistently, but the quality of minutes is evidence of his improvement as a player,” Grimes said.
That improvement, Grimes said, is because Shuck has been very coachable from the first practice of the season.
“You can see it right away. You can tell he is engaged by the look in his eyes. Unfortunately, in this day and age, you don’t see that as often as you’d like. Not only does that have an impact on a coach wanting to work this a player, but it really has helped his development. He’s very skilled, but none of that would be effective or matter as much if he wasn’t as coachable. He learns from the game, he learns from others and he’s a very intelligent player. That, to me, is one of the best qualities that he has,” Grimes said.
“He is definitely going to be a player that continues to take this program in the right direction. Who he is as a person carries over and that’s how he has been able to be successful so far. He doesn’t take things for granted. He’s not someone who wastes opportunities. There is a purpose to what he does.”
In the ECAC tournament, Lebanon Valley defeated John Jay College, McDaniel College and Grove City College to reach the championship game against Rutgers-Camden.
Shuck played in each game and recorded a shot on goal in the championship game, which finished with the Dutchmen winning 3-2 to capture a second consecutive ECAC title.