Bellingham's Auden Schilder has established himself as the top prep goalkeeper in Whatcom County the last four years. Red Raiders coach Matt Zigulis doubted any keeper in the state matches up to Schilder, statistically speaking.
It's even more remarkable, then, he's become so accomplished without formal positional training.
The 6-foot-4 rangy senior will get that chance next fall under University of Washington coach Jamie Clark and his Division I staff, as the four-year Bellingham starter will play for the Huskies next fall.
He earned an invite for the club and will redshirt his first season, but Schilder, whose book smarts match his soccer abilities, has earned academic scholarships.
"Pretty much my biggest motivation to go there was because they have such a great staff and resources to help me improve at the rate I'm hoping to," Schilder said in a phone interview. "Hopefully it will skyrocket my skills I might not have learned playing club."
Advancing Schilder's skill set is saying something, given his 12 shutouts and his 0.57 goals against average last season.
Zigulis viewed his longtime keeper's college choice as the perfect fit.
"I think this is the best thing for him, and I'm excited and almost beyond to a certain point," Zigulis said in a phone interview. "His attitude, work ethic and how smart he is has got him to where he is. Now he'll have a goalkeeper coach, access to weight training facilities. All these resources have now been opened to him."
Schilder began drawing UW's attention two years ago through the Whatcom Rangers soccer program. He's kept in touch since, took a visit to the university after Washington continued showing interest and eventually decided Seattle is where he wants to play.
Zigulis, who enjoyed a successful career at Western Washington University as a defender, said Schilder brings a physical imposing presence to UW and a natural skill set, but like any player leaving high school to play collegiately, there's room for improvement.
"His strength in goal is his reaction and instinct and his size and his ability to stop shots," Zigulis explained. "He's extremely coachable, and he's realistic. He knows the weaknesses and strengths he needs to work on. For some things at the next level he'll need to do is work on being more commanding with his voice. When you're a freshman, and I dealt with it, you're a little fish."
The Huskies have two other keepers listed on their roster. Senior starter Spencer Richey was last year's Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, and Ryan Herman is a redshirt sophomore who hasn't logged any minutes.
Schilder chose Washington instead of Whitworth University and Loyola Marymount University. He plans to major in an engineering discipline.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862.
SCHILDER'S CAREER STATS
Year GA GAA SO
2013 12 0.57 12
2012 23 1.04 10
2011 13 0.68 9
2010 12 0.52 13
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.