Prep star Shaffelburg signs pro contract

by Sheldon Shealer
November 21, 2018
Prep star Jacob Shaffelburg won't make it to the University of Virginia after all.
 
The Canadian native and Berkshire School (Mass.) stalwart signed a professional contract to join Toronto FC II, according to a report in The New England Soccer Journal.
 
Ranked No. 17 in the 2019 Boys IMG Academy Top 150, he arrived at Berkshire as a freshman in the fall of 2015, right after Jack Harrison graduated (spring, 2015). The two didn't overlap, but it was a passing of the baton at Berkshire as Harrison ended up as the MLS No. 1 pick in 2016 as Shaffelburg was emerging as a star player.
 
Both players ended their Berkshire careers by winning NEPSAC A titles and TopDrawerSoccer.com Prep Top 10 No. 1 rankings their senior seasons. 
 
Last summer, Shaffelburg played for the Black Rock PDL team that won the Northeast Division regular season title and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals. Shaffelburg and Georgetown forward Ifunanyachi Achara tied as the team's leaders in goals with eight each. Shaffelburg, however, only played in seven matches.
 
"He is exceptionally fast and fast with the ball," John Moodey, his coach at Berkshire during his freshman season, told topdrawersoccer.com. "It's his speed and stamina to run on the wings for is something special. He can go for 90 minutes making run after run.

"He can dribble with the ball and take people on while maintaining his speed with the ball. He reminds me of Jack [Harrison], and he's no overly complicated. Give him (Jacob) an inch and he's gone. And he's a good finisher on the wing. You can count on him getting 4 or 5 good looks at the net, and you know he'll finish at least one or two."
 
Current Berkshire coach Charlie Bour said he felt Shaffelburg's time with the PDL team last summer helped re-focus his efforts at Berkshire. 
 
"They were training at Hotchkiss School and staying at some summer camp place," Bour said. "He called me and asked if he could stay with our family for two weeks. We treated him like one of the children, he was doing household chores and we have fun with that in Instagram. I think he forged a strong relationship with our family. When he came back to Berkshire in the fall, he was so engaged with the team and the school. Socially he was involved and he wanted to take his leadership role seriously. He helped take the team mentally to places we needed to go, regardless of the results.
 
Shaffelburg had 16 goals and 12 assists for Berkshire this past fall, helping the team to a 19-0 season.

While his deal is set to begin with Toronto FC's USL team, he will qualify and is expected to move up to an MLS deal after meeting the training requirements.
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