New England Soccer Today

Soffner Getting Up to Speed

Revolution goalkeeper Luis Soffner says that working with Matt Reis and Bobby Shuttleworth has been "awesome." (Photo: Kari Heistad/
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – In the span of six weeks, Luis Soffner went from standing on top the college soccer world to squeezing every ounce of effort he could muster just to earn a professional contract.

Yes, the transition from being a college star to MLS unknown has been a humbling experience for the Revolution’s rookie goalkeeper, who entered preseason camp with the memories of winning an NCAA championship with Indiana University still fresh in his mind.

“I knew it’d be a lot of hard work,” Soffner said. “I kind of came off an emotional high winning a championship at I.U., and (then) coming here and knowing I immediately was going to go back down to the bottom. I’d have to work my way back up.”

The start of Soffner’s climb shortly after the club drafted him in the second round (36th overall) of the SuperDraft. He arrived in Foxborough a raw talent that didn’t quite know what to expect from the veterans and coaching staff.

But any anxieties he may have carried into camp quickly vanished when goalkeeper coach Remi Roy, along with veteran keepers Matt Reis and Bobby Shuttleworth, helped get him acclimated to the professional game.

“It’s awesome,” Soffner said of working with Reis and Shuttleworth. “They’ve gone through it, too, and they can kind of give me personal information and tips here and there on how I can get better. It’s probably the best situation that could’ve happened to (be able) to learn from the two of them.”

It was an opportunity that Soffner has taken full advantage of so far. Although Soffner, who stands at 6-4, undoubtedly has the size to play between the sticks, he’s not afraid to admit that his time in Foxborough has been an education in itself.

With Roy serving as the professor, Soffner the pupil has had no choice but to become a quick study.

“Back in college, I could get away with my height in goal where I could pretty much collect anything in the box and I relied on that,” Soffner said. “Here, everything’s so much quicker that now I have to develop that speed, along with the footwork and quickness, and adjust to the shots coming quicker and players who are more physical in the box.”

The process hasn’t been an easy one. Although he’s endured his fair share of rookie struggles, head coach Jay Heaps believes that investing in a raw, yet talented prospect now could yield considerable dividends in the future.

“There are days when he’s still getting kind of the speed of this game underneath his belt,” Heaps said. “But there are just days when he shows his dominance (by) making saves and coming out for balls. I’ve already seen the improvements from Day 1: his footwork and his thought processes are already miles better than when he came in and that’s a credit to him being able to react and adapt.”

While some may have been surprised that Soffner wasn’t one of the four the Revolution sent to Rochester for game action, Heaps said that he likes having three keepers in town for weekly training purposes. But Heaps has set plans to send Soffner to Rochester for a few weekends to get valuable playing time.

For now, however, Soffner isn’t trying to look too far ahead. He may be listed third on the depth chart, but he’s happy to absorb the lessons on a daily basis. It’s an attitude that’s endeared him to many of his new teammates and coaches.

Yet, the same competitive fire that helped steer his Hoosiers to championship glory last December hasn’t been extinguished. Not one bit.

“You just work hard to get better every day,” Soffner said. “I think that Bobby and Matt really instilled that (attitude) in me. So now, every day, I want to try to be better than them. I want to come in everyday at practice and in every little drill, I want to try to do whatever I can to be better than them. Whether it gets me higher up the depth chart, or whether it just pushes them to be better, that’s all I can ask for.”

One Comment

  1. Jim

    April 13, 2013 at 8:15 am

    This kid could get a game or 2 this year, as it looks like Reis is going to be injured on and off all season. All it’d take is a string of poor performances this year or an injury to Bobby at the right time.

    It’s interesting to see how much development a keeper from the pinnacle of the college divisions must go through to become MLS ready, at least according to Heaps.

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