Never in the history of Saint Joseph’s University women’s soccer program had the Hawks qualified for Atlantic 10 Conference post-season play – at least not prior to the arrival of Sudbury sensation Megan Schutt in the fall of 2003.
Nearly 20 years after posting the second highest single season goals and point totals (11 G – 27 PTS) in program history, earning All-Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year and First Team All-Star accolades in the process, the graduate of Lockerby Composite has been named as one of seven women being inducted into the Saint Joseph’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Having spent basically all of her post-university life south of the border, living primarily in New York City and just recently moving to Florida, Megan Schutt (now Taylor) enjoys a far better understanding of the lay of the land than when she first arrived in Philadelphia, Penn. some two decades ago.
“The biggest thing that stands out for me personally was getting that All-American honour in my freshman year,” said the mother of one, who’s expecting a second child due in November. “I didn’t even know what that was. I’m Canadian, not American, I remember thinking.”
If she was initially slightly out of her element in making the move from Northern Ontario to the fifth largest city in the entire United States, Schutt was completely comfortable on the pitch, right from the outset, finishing as the third leading scorer in program history by the time she graduated in 2007.
Off the field, there were certainly times that her eyes would be opened wide.
“I still remember getting out of the car when we first drove down to Philadelphia,” said Schutt.
“I had never been there in the summer – my official visit was in the fall. This was early August and we were smacked in the face with all of this heat and humidity.”
“‘How am I going to play in this?’ I thought.”
Now 37 years old, the daughter of Rod and Rita Schutt was part of the earliest wave of Sudbury Canadians soccer talent had their sights set south, even if exact details of her final destination remained a bit fuzzy.
“I was definitely interested in getting a scholarship and going to play soccer down in the States,” she recalled. “What really helped me was that coach Frank Malvaso had put us in a bunch of American tournaments throughout high-school – and a lot of these were showcase tournaments.”
“And I played for the Ontario provincial team. At nationals, there were a lot of American recruiters there.”
Where some might have been overwhelmed by it all, Schutt embraced the vibrancy that is inherent in the land of the Liberty Bell, one of the most historically significant cities in American history.
“Being in the big city was exciting,” she said. “Our campus was an old, beautiful campus – and the team and the coach were awesome.”
It didn’t take Schutt long to immerse herself in all things Philly – including the traditional cheese-steak debate.
“I think Pat’s would be my choice - I like the cheese better – but there was a place on campus where we always used to go,” she reminisced. “It was open at midnight, easy access – and everything tastes good at that point.”
That said, many of her favourite memories would come on the field of play, including a first year of NCAA experience for the ages.
“I remember beating George Washington, who was ranked – it might have been 1-0 and I think I scored,” said Schutt. “That was the turning point. The playoffs were a first for our soccer team, for the school and they made a big deal out of it.”
Despite her knees bearing the brunt of soccer competition, Schutt remains super active to this day, a devotee of yoga and physical activity in general.
“I used to do a lot of hiking but we moved to Florida in January and sadly, there is no hiking in Florida,” she said with a laugh.
Shocked, supremely honoured, surprised, happy and excited were just some of the emotions that the local woman embraced upon hearing the news of her Hall of Fame selection.
With husband (Trent), son and parents all expected to attend, Schutt is scheduled to be enshrined on October 15.
Randy Pascal is a sportswriter in Greater Sudbury. Pursuit is made possible by our Community Leaders Program.