BT’s Krysten Schuster signs with D2 Drury
A recruiting trip to Missouri in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic convinced Krysten Schuster to join the NCAA Division 2 Drury University Panthers women’s soccer team.
“Going down and seeing it is the point when I decided that I could commit there,” the Grade 12 student at Blessed Trinity said. “I went down and I loved the coach. He is a fantastic guy. I also met the entire team and watched them practise.”
The 17-year-old Beasmville native loved the atmosphere in Springfield, Mo.
“It is in a big college area and the state school is right beside it. It felt very vibrant.”
The school is home to about 1,700 undergrad and grad students and about 1,300 students in its College of Continuing Professional Studies.
“It’s a smaller school because it’s private and I think that I could really excel there because I am a very extroverted person. I like to talk and chat and I like to make connections with people,” Schuster said. “I wanted to go to a big school with a football team but this seemed to fit my characteristics a bit better.”
It also made monetary sense for the future business communications major.
“I was in contact with a few other NCAA schools but because this is a full scholarship, it made the most sense for me financially, especially with it being so far away from home,” she said. “Having those costs covered helped me make my decision and playing in the States is something I have alway wanted to do.”
She also had some discussions with the University of British Columbia which emphasized her willingness to leave home to pursue her soccer dreams.
“I am excited for it because being uncomfortable is what provides you with the greatest growth. If I am in a situation where I am totally uncomfortable, it will be a great learning curve for myself. I will learn 800 different things about myself.”
She is looking forward to the entire experience.
“I have heard that going down to the States for university can be a really great experience because you meet so many different types of people from all over.”
Drury’s team includes two women from California, one from Spain and another from Texas.
The 5-foot-10 centre forward has set big goals for herself at Drury.
“I want to excel at my position. There is an award called The Golden Boot which is given to the player who scores the most goals within your division,” she said. “That would be awesome coming in as a first-year player to win something like that. And I want to stick with my school work and do the best I can.”
She is making sure she will be ready to shine on the field.
“I train five times a week, I do two in-gym sessions for strength and conditioning as well as private sessions with coaches on the side just to keep my touches up,” Schuster said. “The training from a club is great and it provides me with the most game-realistic situations but doing things on your own also helps you to excel.”
Schuster started playing house league soccer in Beamsville and Lincoln when she was four She launched into her travel soccer career in Niagara-on-the-Lake before moving on to play in Ontario Player Development League programs in Hamilton and Burlington. She is presently training with the Oakville Blue Devils, an academy team.
“I played fast paced and aggressive and I can read the play really well,” said Schuster, who also skis and plays basketball and volleyball for fun.
She realized she had a chance to sign with a NCAA school while playing Burlington OPDL under coach Stevie Grieve,
“He really introduced me to a smarter way of playing and he helped me develop as a striker. I also had an old coach, Bill Millar, who initially put me as striker so that kind of started my centre forward career.”
Schuster would have loved to not have the COVID-19 pandemic disrupt her final year of soccer before university but she knows it was beyond her control.
“I was a little disappointed because we had tournaments planned in Virginia and Dallas, Texas, and I was excited to go play there, but I find things have an innate way of coming to you and finding you in the right place at the right time.”
Drury head coach Justin Olson is happy Schuster’s right place is with his program.
“We are really excited how our class of 2021 is coming together,” Olson said on the Drury website. “We wanted to continue to improve our attack along with adding a quality goalkeeper. These three come from top club teams that have prepared them for the collegiate game. Krysten, Grace, and Jenna also excel in the classroom, and we will look to continue their academic success here at Drury. These girls will be a great complement to the experienced and talented group already in place here.”
Drury plays in the NCAA Division 2 Great Lakes Valley Conference.