Nor'easters Captain Makes the Jump to MLS
McLaws takes Opportunity with NYRB
By Eric Klenofsky
March 9, 2015
McLaws in on a tackle against Ray Gaddis
of the Philadelphia Union

Ocean City, NJ - After an impressive preseason with the New York Red Bulls, 2014 Ocean City Nor’easters club captain, Shawn McLaws signed his first professional contract with the Major League Soccer franchise last Tuesday, March 3rd. McLaws was taken by New York with the 17th pick of the 3rd round in the MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 20th.

McLaws proved his worth during preseason as New York met with MLS opponents Philadelphia Union and Toronto FC in preparation for the season as well as Jacksonville Armada, OKC Energy and the University of South Florida amongst others. McLaws was able to grab an assist in an intra-squad scrimmage early on in camp which got the ball rolling for the OC alum who at that point was an unsigned draftee.

“Everything happened kind of fast so I didn't really have time to let the moment sink in but it was surreal,” said McLaws. “I’ve been chasing this dream since I was little so getting a chance to live that dream is a blessing.”

McLaws logged over 1800 minutes
in his time at the "Beach House"

McLaws was a main stay on the back line for the Nor’easters over the course of his two years in Ocean City. In his first year at the “Beach House”, McLaws led the team to a PDL Mid-Atlantic Division Championship and an Eastern Conference Championship.

Right alongside an incredible 2013 PDL campaign, McLaws and the Nor’easters would enjoy success in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. During the Open Cup, the Nor’easters took down the New York Red Bulls of the NPSL and the USL Pro’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Following their first two wins against such formidable opponents, the McLaws led Nor’easters traveled to PPL Park to take on the Philadelphia Union of the MLS. The Union came out on top but OC would not fall easily. The two teams were knotted at one goal apiece going into the latter stages of the game before the Union would squeeze out the go ahead and eventual winner.

“Shawn is the kind of kid that was a pro before he was pro,” said Nor’easters Head Coach, Tim Oswald. “He was a leader by example on a daily basis and a model captain for us during his two seasons with the club.”

The 2014 season came and McLaws was named club captain. The Nor’easters dealt with an injury plagued season and would finish 4th in the Mid-Atlantic Division. But the leadership and consistency of McLaws would not come to question. The captain played in 13 games for the Nor’easters logging over a thousand minutes culminating in PDL National Team of the Week Honorable Mention selections on two separate occasions.

McLaws in preseason action with his new MLS club

“Ocean City had a huge impact on me, it gave me a great place to train over the summer and be able to further grow as a person and player really setting me up for my senior year at college,” said McLaws. “I really owe a big thank you to the coaches and staff for everything they have done for me.”

Following stellar seasons with Ocean City, McLaws would go on to make his mark on the Coastal Carolina Soccer Program. Junior year set the tone for his career with the Chanticleers; earning 2013 Big South Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-Big South as well as NSCAA Second Team All-South Atlantic Region as a junior blew the roof of the expectations for McLaws heading into his final year in South Carolina.

McLaws was 2x Big South Defender of the Year
at Coastal Carolina University

McLaws filled those expectations and repeating as Big South Defensive Player of the Year was just the start. He was again selected to the Big South First-Team and upped his status from last year with an NSCAA First Team All-South Atlantic Region selection in 2014. Capping off his senior seasons accolades would be a College Soccer News Third Team All-American selection.

“Coastal Carolina really pushed me and molded me into the player I've become,” said McLaws. “Every day I was there I had to fight for everything on the soccer field and nothing was ever given to you.”

McLaws and the New York Red Bulls opened their MLS campaign last night with a 1-1 draw at Sporting Kansas City in Sporting Park. As one of the youngest defenders for New York, McLaws will have stiff competition for playing time against the veterans of the NYRB squad.

New York will return home to RedBull Arena next Sunday, Mar. 22nd against conference rivals, D.C. United at 5 p.m in their home opener on ESPN2. Nor’easters fans should keep an eye out for McLaws and the Red Bulls as they take on fellow OC alum, John McCarthy and the Philadelphia Union on May 24th in New York at 5 p.m. 

2015 Individual Match and Season ticket packages are on sale now. For more information, call (609) 432-8271 to speak with a Nor'easters ticket representative, email us at tickets@oceancityfc.com, or visit www.oceancityfc.com/tickets for ticket package information.

Text "MCLAWS" to (609) 432-8271 to receive an exclusive promo code, for ticket purchases made online via www.oceancityfc.com/tickets.

For more information on the Ocean City Nor'easters or to "Follow the Storm", check us out at www.oceancityfc.com/followthestorm or text "FOLLOWTHESTORM" to 22828 to join the "Storm Watch" e-newletter.