Bellingham High School graduate Auden Schilder was selected by the San Jose Earthquakes in the fourth round of the MLS SuperDraft on Wednesday. The goalkeeper was the 72nd selection overall.
“It’s amazing,” said Bellingham boys soccer coach Matt Zigulis, who took over the program in 2011 during Schilder’s sophomore year. “It’s of huge importance to our community, especially with the popularity of soccer on the rise. More and more kids are playing the game, and with someone like Auden, they see that they can stay in the area and make it. I think his name and with the person he is, he’s the right guy to take on this challenge, and I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Schilder, a 22-year-old redshirt junior from the University of Washington, started for the Huskies last season, earning five shutouts and an All-Pacific-12 Conference second-team honor. He allowed 18 goals in 20 games in 2016, his only season as a full-time starter with the Huskies, and was selected second-team NSCAA All-Far West Region.
, Schilder appeared in 22 games with Washington and logged 78 saves.
“He has great natural ability – nobody could cover as much of the goal as he could,” Zigulis said. “He has all the tools to be successful, but it was his attitude and work ethic that really set him apart.”
Schilder is not under contract, according to a story posted on SBnation.com, and will attempt to earn a spot on the Earthquakes’ roster this year. If he doesn’t make the cut, he will be eligible to sign with San Jose’s United Soccer League affiliate, Reno 1868 FC, in hopes of signing an MLS contract later.
Before heading to Seattle to play for Washington, Schilder helped the Red Raiders to the Class 2A state title in 2010 and was selected all-state and The Bellingham Herald’s All-Whatcom County Player of the Year in 2013.
Zigulis, a teacher at Bellingham, said Schilder was just as much of a standout away from the soccer pitch. He was selected a team captain as a junior and always set an example for younger players.
“I had the privilege of coaching Auden for three years, and what I remember most is he was just the best teammate,” Zigulis said. “He always put his teammates ahead of himself. ... I think he sets the perfect example for the younger generation to look up to.”