Erin Shaia’s passion for the beautiful game has grown over the past several years and led her to a difficult decision this year, to leave the team she’s been playing with since she was in preschool and tryout for the Strikers travel program. Her decision paid off as she made the U13 Elite team and is now an impact player for her new team.
Shaia began playing soccer at the Tuckahoe YMCA when she was still in preschool. After several years playing at the YMCA, her team decided to make a move to the Strikers in the fall of 2015 to further improve their game. Through the Strikers recreation program, her team, the Tornadoes, led by three dads Shane Cason, Brian Winterhoff, and Larry Hoffheimer, consistently improved and challenged their players with extra tournaments and playing up an age group.
Through this team and coaches, she fell in love with the game and started dreaming of playing in college and beyond. With her sights set on her future in soccer, she made the decision to try out for the Strikers travel program. To her and her family’s surprise, she made the U13 Elite team and ultimately made the difficult decision to leave the team she has been on since she started playing and move on to the next challenge.
“The first night I saw Erin play, I remember looking back through my notes to see what club she previously played for; I was even more excited about her as a player when I realized she was moving in from our recreational program,” Shaia’s U13 Elite coach, Kimmy Cummings, said about discovering her at open tryouts. “At that moment I knew what I was seeing was raw talent and she has endless amounts of potential.”
Shaia has been committed to working on her game and has also played futsal with FutsalRVA and trained with EVLV, an organization focused on maximizing female players’ passion as soccer players and developing young girls into strong, independent women. Her hard work has paid off as she’s already a starter on the U13 Elite team and has been able to play in multiple positions for the team as well.
“Since joining the team, Erin has had an impact and has been involved with nearly every goal we have scored so far this season,” Cummings added about Shaia’s effect on her new squad. “She’s absorbing so much information right now and it’s reflecting in training sessions and games.”
Although, she misses her Tornadoes’ teammates and still supports them, she is enjoying the newest chapter in her soccer journey with the U13 Elite team. She is looking forward to continuing to learn and grow her passion for the game. To learn more about Shaia, we asked her some fun soccer and non-soccer related questions, CLICK HERE to read!