BILLERICA – Fans of the Shawsheen Tech Boys Soccer team have known for a while just how good of a player Tyler Archibald is. The senior forward from Wilmington has been a key contributor for the Rams for the past three seasons, including last season when he was selected as a Commonwealth Athletic Conference All-Star as well as being selected as a Lowell Sun Second Team All-Star while leading the Rams to an outstanding 11-2-4 record and a second place finish in the CAC Large.
Archibald has been even better this season, with nine goals and 11 assists through just nine games for the 7-1-1 Rams. If Archibald’s success was a secret before however, the secret is now out thanks to his recent outstanding efforts, particularly his strong performance two weeks ago when he tallied six points (3 goals and 3 assists) in just two games to earn Boston Globe Player of the Week honors. It was the first time in his career that Archibald has been honored by the Globe, and it was an honor he will not soon forget.
“That was awesome. A lot of people congratulated me, so that was great for me and for the team,” Archibald said. “I didn’t really know much about the Boston Globe before that, but now I think it is a pretty big deal. It is really great.”
For Shawsheen coach Tom Severo, it was great to see one of his senior captains honored for his efforts, but it also didn’t come as much of a surprise for the coach who has seen Archibald steadily improve throughout his career before taking his game to another level this season.
“He has progressed every year with us. He has great skills and he is very, very fast. He has always had that,” Severo said. “And this year, he knows he is a senior captain he knows we need him to step up. He is a tremendous distributor of the ball, but his year he knows we needed him to step up and score more and he has done that.
“Last year he passed more than he shot. This year at the start of the season I talked to him and he knows that most times he has the best opportunity to put the ball in the net, so therefore he is putting more emphasis on that than he has in the past because he set up other people so well. But he still does a great job of that. Some of his crosses are just picture perfect.”
As of press time for the Town Crier, the Rams had just one game left on the season, with a huge league deciding matchup looming for them against Essex Tech on Tuesday night. The winner of Tuesday’s matchup was poised take home the CAC title and with no post season tournament this year, it is the ultimate prize a team can hope for.
Archibald knew the potential his team had this season, and he has been glad to be a big part of seeing them reach that potential.
“We have had a good season, the team is really good. I felt going in that we could have a very good season and it’s great that we have been able to do that so far,” Archibald said. “It’s been awesome. I want to score as many goals as I can and help us win as many games as we can, so that has been great. I am not sure what the key is. I have kept myself in good shape and I am pretty fast, so that has helped.”
Severo says that Archibald, along with his fellow captains Joe Hansen of Wilmington, Billy Hartshorn and Devin Almeida of Wilmington have been a big reason why the Rams are closing in on a league title.
“All four of the captains have done a great job. That started this summer, back in June, when the summer league was going to start and then got delayed and they were trying to keep the team together and have practices and conditioning,” Severo said. “And then when they did start playing in the summer, they did a great job preparing people all summer. We had a late start to the high school season, so that was tough on everybody, but because the captains had made sure that all of the work that had to be done in the summer was done, we were able to hit the ground running.”
It has of course been a season unlike any other for sports across the board, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Archibald and his fellow captains have done their best to keep the season as normal as possible for themselves and their younger teammates. There have been challenges, but Archibald feels like his team has adjusted pretty well overall.
“A lot of refs are sometimes iffy on calls. Some refs call some things, some refs don’t call anything at all. It’s difficult, but you don’t want to get mad at the refs because they are just doing their job and doing the best they can,” Archibald said. “Other than that, overall, we are all getting through it without any problem to be honest. Everybody had been really good about everything all season. The team has been really good about listening to the captains.”
One of the things that has made the season easier for Archibald and the other captains has been the leadership of Severo, who has helped guide them through what could have been a difficult situation.
“Coach Severo has been great. He is really easy to talk to and he likes to listen to the captains and to the other players,” Archibald said. “I think he is a really great coach.”
With just the one game against Essex remaining on the schedule, the Rams will certainly be counting on Archibald to step up when they need him best, something he has made a habit of doing all season, as well as last season when he had a pair of assists on great passes in leading the Rams to a 2-1 win over perennial CAC powerhouse Chelsea.
One of his assists came on a perfect corner kick and the other came on a great 40-yard pass to set up teammate Chris Melo for what proved to be the game winning goal.
“I think it was the first time in ten years we had beaten them, so that was pretty special,” Archibald said.
Archibald, who also runs the 400 meter and 4x400 in the spring track season has been playing soccer most of his life through either Wilmington Youth Soccer or club teams and now of course with Shawsheen. Whatever happens on Tuesday night, Archibald knows that emotions will be running high.
“I am going to miss it a lot. I am sure I am going to cry a lot at that last game,” Archibald said. “Everyone I have played with across all of my time with the team I have like and I am going to miss them. We have had some really good teams across the board, so that has been a lot of fun.”