If you walk into the Schuster house, just try not to get hit with a soccer ball.
The family simply eats, sleeps and lives soccer, from Richmond junior Matt Schuster to his dad, Steve.
On the field it’s pretty clear how deep the passion for the game runs for the midfielder. The Blue Devil was the glue that held the field together, often being the lone midfielder running the show in Richmond’s 19-5-1 season that ended in the regional finals.
“I’m not really sure who would be able to step in and run the middle of the field like he does,” Richmond coach Lance Whitney said. “He offers so much in the middle that really can’t be replaced – vision, size and his ability to move the ball and find people.”
On the season he tore up the stat sheet, scoring 22 goals and dishing out 26 assists in Richmond’s Blue Water Area Conference title-winning season. He was the nucleus of the team that also won its first district title since 2007, and for that he is the Times Herald Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
“We had a good team, and I think we’ll have a good team next year too,” the Division 3 All-State First Team member said. “We had a good defense which helped us move forward and keeping us in the games.”
To begin the Schuster soccer timeline, you’ll need to flip the calendar all the way back to the times where Matt was four years old. He really didn’t have a choice in playing as his dad is a life-long player, but falling in love with the game came quite easy to Matt.
Over the course of the last decade Steve has coached Matt to become the smart, tactical player he is today. Of everything Steve wanted to pass along, knowing when to use and converse energy on the field while always being correctly positioned was on top of his list.
“He’s always been in the right place at the right time,” Steve said. “He’s not that flashy … you look out at the field and he’s not going to stand out, but when you watch game after game you realize he’s in the right spot and comes up huge in big games.”
He came up in championship form in the district finals against Almont, scoring the lone goal in Richmond’s 1-0 win. At one point Richmond went more than a month without losing a game in regulation, and really, it just felt like that steam would never run out.
“We knew there would be tough games, but we thought we would just win it all,” Matt said. “It was great because in years past we lost a couple games (in districts) and it didn’t feel good, but this year it was cheering on the bus and a good time.”
The season ended with Grosse Ile knocking them off in the regional finals, but Matt is still no stranger to the field as he’s playing for two FC Nova travel teams throughout the winter.
As good as Matt and the Blue Devils were this season, they could be as good if not better next fall. Until then Matt continues to perfect the game that he loves, but doing it in an almost silent fashion.
“Usually when players get as good as he is they get a little bit arrogant and cocky, and maybe it’s deserved,” Whitney said. “I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but Matt really doesn’t have that. He’s level-headed and never calls out other players or tells you how good he plays. He does his thing and he does it well.”
ALL-AREA FIRST TEAM
- Ben Al-Gharabally, jr., St. Clair
- Ethan Brown, sr., Landmark
- Brendon Jacques, jr., Richmond
- Garrett Lance, sr., Port Huron Northern
- Dalton McNary, sr., Marlette
- Jon Miller, sr., Port Huron
- Marcel Munger, jr., Croswell-Lexington
- Evan Quigley, jr., Richmond
- Nolan Reeve, jr., Memphis
- Brett Robinson, soph., Marysville
- Alex Runnals, sr., Richmond
- Matt Schuster, jr., Richmond
ALL-AREA SECOND TEAM
- Jake Carroll, sr., Marysville
- Brandon Kunce, sr., Richmond
- Jason Mallon, sr., Port Huron
- Alexander Meiniche, sr., Richmond
- Ryin Milletics, sr., Cros-Lex
- DJ Mitch, sr., Yale
- Kurtis Obermyer, jr., Port Huron Northern
- Eric Ransom, sr., Capac
- Jake Rhein, sr., Marine City
- Trevor Roeske, sr., Marysville
- Allan Szczesniak, jr., Richmond
- Wes Wolschleger, jr., Memphis
- Jake Zuhlke, jr., Marlette
HONORABLE MENTIONS — ARMADA — Daniel Matthews; BROWN CITY — Dylan Foster, Gabe Pengerl; CAPAC — Tyler Adams; CROS–LEX — Markus Munger, Noah Yankee, Hunter Rankin, Jacob Kroetsch; LANDMARK — Alex Sawdon; MARINE CITY — Jason Dean, Evan Jaworowicz; MARLETTE — Andrew Storm; MARYSVILLE — Nick Chitwood, Michael Booth; MEMPHIS — Harrison Krause, Nick Haack, Caleb White; PORT HURON — Michael Gore; PORT HURON NORTHERN — Chris Baunoch, Rudy Nowakowski, Jake Schroll; RICHMOND — Steven Gil, John Hildreth; ST. CLAIR — Ryan Johnson, Derek McComas; YALE — Cody Kegley, Noah Runnals, Josh Juip