2015 VSN BOYS CO-SOCCER PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Michael DeShields, McDonogh School

Mike DeShieldsIn sports, the biggest stars have a knack for saving their best for when it is needed the most. This is certainly true of McDonogh’s Mike DeShields, widely regarded as one of top high school soccer defenders in the nation.

In 2015, DeShields a senior, had perhaps his finest season, leading the Eagles to an undefeated season and the MIAA A Conference championship, earning him recognition as the 2015 VSN Boys Soccer Co-Player of the Year.

The key component of a McDonogh backline that recorded 13 shutouts in 2015, DeShields has been honored as a SIMA All-American, as well as selected to All-State, All-Met, and All-MIAA teams. Proving he is more than just a defender, he scored nine goals in 2015, including four game-winners, and added three assists. And, as mentioned earlier, he has proven to be clutch.

As a sophomore in 2013, he broke a scoreless tie with just 10 seconds remaining in the MIAA A Conference championship game, lifting the Eagles to a stunning 1-0 victory over St. Paul’s. Then, in a legendary performance, he returned to the field in this year’s title game against Archbishop Curley after suffering two disabling injuries.

“I had two injuries, a deep thigh contusion, where I really couldn’t stand up or walk towards the end when the adrenaline ran out, and I also had a bruised lung, which made it difficult to breathe and I was spitting up blood,” said DeShields. “But, it was the last game of my high school career and I couldn’t miss that. The guys I have been playing with for three, four years, I had to play for them and help win the championship.”

As far as the success of his defensive unit, DeShields pointed to continuity and consistency.

“With McDonogh, we’ve had the same back line for the last three years. We’ve been together for a long time, so that bond keeps us strong as a defense.”

More so than pure talent, DeShields explained how a loss to Loyola in the 2014 championship game set the tone for 2015.

“Losing last year, that was very painful. Seeing the seniors, last year, go away on that loss, I felt bad. Everyone of us felt bad for them,” said DeShields. “At the beginning of this season, we set that as a goal: we weren’t going to feel that, ever, this season. We had to work hard, especially the seniors. We knew we had to work hard if we were going to win and get the championship.”

DeShields, who plays with the Baltimore Celtic Club under McDonogh coach Brandon Quaranta, who happens to be the 2015 VSN Boys Soccer Coach of the Year, and alongside 2015 VSN Boys Soccer Co-Player of the Year Tre Pulliam of Archbishop Curley, won the 2014 National championship on the club level.

Next fall, DeShields will begin his college soccer career in the Atlantic Coast Conference at Wake Forest University.

“I chose Wake Forest because it was a great place. It was so nice. I went up there and the atmosphere was incredible. The coaches, the players, the school – the school is very prestigious – and all the players, it’s been a family.

“I could see that, and I knew that is where I wanted to be. The family I have right now with my teams, McDonogh and Celtic, they’re my brothers. I love them to the death and I knew I wanted to keep that going in college.”

Beyond Wake Forest, DeShields hopes to play professionally and with the U.S. National Team if the opportunity arises.