By Kevin Stewart
Maggie Hoeltke wasn’t exactly thrilled when her son, Bobby Shuttleworth, decided to skip his senior year at UB to pursue his dream of becoming a professional soccer goalie. “I supported him 100 percent,” she says, “[but] as a mom, I was worried.”
She needn’t have been.
In less than a year, Shuttleworth went from finishing a stellar 2008 season at UB (he had 65 saves and a goals-against average of 0.63 per game—the second best in UB history) to brief stints with the Kalamazoo Outrage and the Austin Aztex of the Premier Development League, to signing with the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer—the highest level of professional soccer in the U.S.
In the past year, his fifth with the Revs, the 26-year-old goalkeeper has asserted himself as a starter, recording 64 saves and nine shutouts, while helping New England reach the MLS playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Shuttleworth, a native of Tonawanda, N.Y. (a Buffalo suburb), attributes much of his success as a pro to his time at UB.
“I was lucky that I got to play with so many great players, and we played some really good teams,” he remembers. “I think that was really important. It made the transition to the next level a lot easier.”
The most difficult part of his transition may have been leaving his hometown for Beantown. He likes Boston—and loves his neighborhood—but there are some cravings that charming cul-de-sacs and winning sports teams can’t satisfy.
“One thing about Buffalo is that everyone is spoiled,” Shuttleworth says. “The food is so good.”