Vroom’s athleticism boosts men’s soccer’s defensive line

By Jacob Onak

DeKalb | Men’s soccer junior Shawn Vroom had rough years on the men’s soccer team, but he is back and making an impact.

After not seeing time during his freshman year, the defender had a torn meniscus that kept him out for all his sophomore season.

Now, Vroom has made the left back spot his own and has been a physical, athletic presence for the Huskies.

“I’m feeling good,” Vroom said. “Last year was kind of a bummer. I had an injury pretty early in the season and wasn’t able to recover until the end of the season. I’ve felt pretty confident this year, did a lot of training. It’s all good. I’m happy; just trying to get a couple more wins.”

Since the preseason, head coach Eric Luzzi has been impressed by the way Vroom came into camp.

“He’s been doing great,” Luzzi said. “He is super fit, he’s one of our most athletic guys, he cares, he works hard, and to be honest he’s committed a lot over the last three years to put himself in a position to be starting for us, and he’s earned it.

“He plays exactly like we want our outside backs to play: He’s aggressive in the attack, he’s a good attacking player, but he’s also feisty and very, very tough to beat defensively.”

This season, Vroom has played in seven games, starting six of them. Early on Vroom had some competition from freshman Cody Witkowski for the left back spot, but it seems the junior has won that position.

On the field, Vroom likes to roam up and down the left flank. The natural lefty likes to get forward when he can but isn’t afraid of doing the defensive work. He is a true, two-way player who uses his pace and athleticism to outplay his opponents.

“I’m not one of those players that’s going to do a couple of step-overs and beat someone,” Vroom said. “But I’m definitely gonna try and do one-twos and get around somebody with pace … [and] I love a good tackle.”

After his knee injury and the departure of Pat Sloan, who manned the left back spot the past two years, Vroom recovered and got back into shape.

“I’ve just been running a lot,” Vroom said. “I’ve been doing a bunch of different stuff. I was riding my bike as much as I could when I couldn’t necessarily run, but I’ve always been a blue collar worker and as a player that’s kind of been my identity. I always want to have really good fitness; it always helps me play better.”

Luzzi said the commitment Vroom has put into the program has pleased him.

“I’m proud of Shawn,” Luzzi said. “… I’m happy for him cause he’s put a lot of time and effort in the last three years to put himself in a position where he’s consistently seeing a lot of minutes for us.”

With all the athletic tools a Div. I athlete needs, Vroom said there are still some things he can work on.

“Technical ability,” Vroom said. “That’s always something you can improve on as a team and individually, you know technical ability, confidence on the ball.”