Photo credit: Craig Bisacre

Ms. Shutout: Texas A&M’s Shantel Hutton

Texas A&M freshman Shantel Hutton discusses her favorite goalkeepers, the beginning of her college career, and music from her native Georgia.

In her first year of college soccer, Texas A&M’s Shantel Hutton is already one of the best goalkeepers in the nation.  The freshman from Duluth, Georgia has started all 16 matches this season for the #18 Aggies and she’s only allowed 12 goals. With ten shutouts for the club, Shantel shares the credit for the hot start to her collegiate career. “It’s the effort of this team. The group of girls I’m playing with, I’ve never seen a group give so much effort,” she said. “The effort is always there. The fight is there. I’ve never been on a team where you can see the fight for 90 minutes, even 110 minutes. That makes it easy for a freshman goalkeeper to come in and have success.

“Individually, my confidence has helped. After those first few matches, I know I can handle this level. I’ve always been told I’m coachable. When a coach tells me I need to work on something, I work really hard fixing that one thing until it becomes a habit. Finally, I’m naturally athletic. That also helped.”

Why did she make the move from Georgia to College Station? She explained, “Texas A&M has a great soccer program, which sold me from the start and everyone here was so nice.” She also added why she selected her kit number. “34 was my dad’s number, I am adopted and he played baseball with that same number,” Hutton said. “He passed away when I was in first grade, so I decided to take his number.”

Speaking of her childhood, both of her favorite goalkeepers are from North America. “Guillermo Ochoa, he is the goalkeeper for the Mexico National Team and is so good at his position. I love him. For a long time I looked up to Hope Solo, I actually got to meet her. I also looked up to Abby Wambach since at that age they were the cool players,” she said about her favorites growing up.

Her favorite musical genre has an even more local flavor than the same continent. A fan of rap and R&B, she grew up in the musical hotbed of Georgia, specifically near Atlanta. She said Lil Baby and 21 Savage are a few of her favorites and represent metro Atlanta, near where she’s from. Shantel added that she seems them all the time at the Lenox Mall, which is a hotspot for all up-and-coming rappers from Georgia.

Just like 21 Savage’s hit song featuring J. Cole, Hutton says that the Aggies have “A Lot to accomplish this season. “We want to win everything without a doubt,” she said. “We’ll probably have to win out to have a chance to win the SEC regular-season title, but as long as we keep improving down the stretch, winning the SEC Tournament title and getting to the College Cup are definitely goals we can accomplish.”

Next up for Texas A&M will be a three-match closing to the regular season across two weeks with matches against Vanderbilt (10/24), Missouri (10/27), and Ole Miss (10/31). Then, it’s time for the Aggies and their star freshman goalkeeper to make a run in the postseason.

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