After the announcement of a number of our 2013 stars returning for the 2014 campaign, the Ocean City Nor'easters are excited to share with our fans the news that Shawn McLaws will captain the side for the 2014 season. Shawn's consistently excellent performances from right back played a huge part in the Nor'easters success last year, with a core of fans even comparing his displays to those of Brazilian legend Cafu!
Shawn completed 854 minutes in his debut season with the Nor'easters last year, contributing two goals with his desire and drive to help out the offense, whilst his composure and quality at the back was illustrated by the fact he only conceded 7 fouls throughout the whole season. After a succesful summer in Ocean City, Shawn returned to Coastal Carolina and played a huge part in their run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division I tournament, starting 23 games and contributing two assists on the way to being named the 2013 Big South Defensive Player of the Year and taking his place on the First Team All- Big South and Second Team All-South Atlantic Region select sides. For more stats you can find Shawn's complete Coastal Carolina and Ocean City records here and here respectively.
Prior to the announcement we were able to catch up with new club captain Shawn and ask him a few questions about what the role means to him and what his expectations are for the coming season.
What has your experience in Ocean City with the Nor’easters been like?
“Last year was amazing. A very professional environment starting at the top from El Presidente all the way down to the coaches. They give us all we need to succeed. You couldn’t ask for a better place to be in with the beach right next to us.”
Just how important is it to have good team cohesion and understanding, especially in important parts of the match?
“Very important. Especially in the PDL, because you have guys from everywhere and have little time to train together before the first game of the season. It is a MUST to have good team chemistry off the field because when you’re on the field it is important to know what guys are going to do.”
Do you believe this is a team that can replicate their success in the league?
“Definitely. Our goal is to win the Mid-Atlantic Division and try to win the Eastern Conference. It will be tough because you have teams like Reading, NJ Express, and other teams that know how to play well. It will be a battle. Everyone has to be on the same page.”
What are your expectations for the US Open cup this season?
“We want to replicate what we did last year. Our goal is to be able to play an MLS side.”
You’ve played in central defense for Coastal Carolina but are you more comfortable playing at right back and joining in the attack?
“My first years of college I played outside back as well as with OC last year. This year we had a need for a center back at school and I was very comfortable there because I played center back when I was younger. I feel comfortable on the ball. I am willing to play wherever the coaches need me.”
How important do you feel your individual success is for the success of the club?
“For me it is all about the team, because when the team does well as a unit it makes you look better individually.”
How different is it playing in the PDL as opposed to playing in college?
“In college you get to hang out with everyone throughout the year and get to know them well. In PDL it is tough because you have so many different guys from everywhere and have such little time together. It’s more difficult to get the cohesion right away.”
How do you plan on inspiring the team to further glory?
“Doing what I normally do on a day to day basis, which is work hard. That leads over to the team and I am committed to helping guys along the way”.
For more squad announcements and to find out how Shawn and the Team are doing throughout the season make sure you follow the Nor'easters on facebook and twitter.