FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution ended their MLS campaign on Oct. 22, but defender Ryan Cochrane and goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth have found another outlet to keep their competitive juices flowing as they wrap up postseason training with the Revs.
Both players assumed assistant coaching roles with local colleges during the fall. Cochrane serves as an assistant at Division III powerhouse Wheaton (Norton, Mass.), while Shuttleworth works with the goalkeepers at established Division II program Bentley (Waltham, Mass.).
“I love it a lot,” Shuttleworth told MLSsoccer.com earlier this week. “It's what I want to do when I'm done playing. For me now, it's a good opportunity to start working my résumé a little bit. [Former Harvard assistant Gary Crompton is] there now and he does a great job of working with me and my schedule. He's really flexible.”
That flexibility comes in handy during the MLS regular season, but Cochrane and Shuttleworth have a bit more time on their hands now with the Revs’ campaign already concluded. The players train with New England in the morning – an arrangement set to continue through the club's exit physicals next week – and then leave to work with the college players in the afternoon.
For Cochrane, the chance to add to his coaching experience – he chipped in with the University of Houston's women's program while he played with the Dynamo – also provides an opportunity to lay the groundwork for the future.
“When I was in Houston, I worked with the girls' team at U of H for a little bit of time,” Cochrane said. “I should have gotten involved a little sooner. I realized I was a little bored after trainings here. I gave [Wheaton coach] Matt Cushing a call and said I'd like to come out and be part of the squad. It's been fun since it's definitely something that I want to do when I'm done.”
Shuttleworth also wants to join the coaching fraternity when he concludes his career, but he faces a temporary obstacle as he gains some experience right now: at 24, he isn't much older than the Bentley players.
“I'm lucky enough that they're a great group of kids,” Shuttleworth said. “It's odd sometimes because I'm coaching kids that are almost the same age as me. They're calling me coach. I tell them not to call me coach. My name is Bobby. I'm not a 55-year-old man. It's different [from playing], but I'm really enjoying it a lot.”
The opportunity to coach college players provides a change of pace for two players now used to the professional environment.
“It's definitely a different dynamic,” Cochrane said. “Out here [on the Revolution training field], you're treated like a professional. There, everybody's together all the time, on and off the field. Guys are living together. It's fun to be around that. Guys have really picked my brain at that level and asked me questions about here, about the team, about the MLS Cups. It's been fun to pass along little tidbits here and there.”
A few of those pointers shared by the Revs' coaching duo have contributed to successful seasons and postseason matches for both programs. Bentley (9-7-2) concluded its campaign in the Northeast-10 quarterfinals with a 2-1 defeat at Southern New Hampshire on Tuesday, while Wheaton (9-7-2) will play Springfield in the NEWMAC semifinals in Babson Park, Mass., on Saturday.