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Player Spotlight: ASU And USA U20 Carson Shoemaker

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Player Spotlight: ASU And USA U20 Carson Shoemaker

Carson Shoemaker for Arizona State. J. Dalton Photography.

The USA Men’s Under 20 team may or may not take the field this year—everything is up in the air—but the players selected still deserve recognition in what is becoming an increasingly competitive team to make.

Arizona State standout No. 8 Carson Shoemaker isn’t taking the honor lightly.

“When I was a freshman I saw Nafi Maafu make the team and I saw what he was able to do, and after that I made it my goal to make that team,” Shoemaker told Goff Rugby Report. “Starting that summer I worked toward it. I knew I had to really commit to it and say to myself, yes, this is what I want to do, this is my goal.”

Shoemaker then translated that into a strong season for Arizona State in the Gold Coast Conference, with the Sun Devils going 4-1 in conference play before the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down.

“We were in a rebuilding stage,” said Shoemaker. “But this year’s freshman class was really good.”

Lock Sean martin, flanker Jonah Charlton, and scrumhalf Trevor Pacheco (a former teammate of Shoemaker’s on Eagle Impact Rugby Academy teams) have all made an impact in their first year.

But Shoemaker has, as well. Only 19 but a sophomore, Shoemaker trailed only fullback Kyson Jester in tries for ASU, and even in a losing cause was noticed by USA U20 Head Coach Scott Bracken.

Bracken also coaches with Claremont Colleges, the only team to beat Arizona State this year.

“I wanted to have a great game against them regardless, but it was kind of nice knowing the opposing coach was also looking out for me,” he said. “I know I have to show what I can do in a lot of areas. I play No. 8 at Arizona State but I usually play lock for these select teams, so I have to be versatile. I want to make sure I take care of my basic responsibilities on where to be in the set piece. I’ve started being the voice in the lineout and that’s a big thing, too.”

The rangy No. 8 grew up with rugby. His dad picked up the game while serving for the US Navy in Scotland, and loved it. He later played for OMBAC in San Diego.

“I had been playing football but when I started playing rugby I fell in love with the game almost instantly,” he said. “Football is slow. You’re always waiting to play. Rugby is more fast-paced and I like how you can be creative.”

He has built on that enthusiasm with hard work. He started going to EIRA skill sessions and played with those teams under Salty Thompson and Bracken as well.

“EIRA helped me tremendously,” said Shoemaker. “I learned so many little tricks that improved my game so much. I learned from so many coaches. Definitely Scott Bracket. And also Salty Thompson. He’s based in Arizona so I could go work with him a lot.”

Back home while rugby and pretty much everything else is on lockdown, Shoemaker had a front-row seat to what he is studying. He studies Global Logistics, which is all about how to manage supply networks across the globe. As we’ve seen with supply chains affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a harsh lesson in how fragile global logistics can be.

“It’s crazy to see those pictures of a bunch of tankers just sitting outside a port because they can’t come in,” said Shoemaker. “It’s really rough on people, but it’s also been a really big learning experience in how you run a supply chain.”