Logan Shytle loves soccer. He plays with skill and passion that among his honors included N.C. Soccer Coaches Player of the Year, but his dreams are longer and wider than a soccer pitch.
The Heritage senior wants to attend the Air Force Academy, graduate to flight school and fly jets. That doesn’t mean he won’t play soccer at Air Force. It only indicates he won’t let it interfere with is primary goal.
“I’m not going to college to play soccer,” Shytle said. “I’m going to college to become a pilot. I loved playing high school soccer and representing my school. I remember when I was a freshman and terrified. I looked up to the seniors and learned from them about leadership. I learned what kind of leader I want to be.”
Other high school soccer stars will sign their national letters-of-intent Wednesday along with more publicized football stars, but Shytle is hopefully awaiting word in April that he has been admitted to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Col. He has the qualifying academics with a 4.72 grade-point average, test scores and the required recommendation from his U.S. Congressman.
“We tell our athletes pick the college that will set you up for life,” Heritage boys soccer coach Scott Sloan said. “That’s what Logan is doing. He’s not picking his school for athletics.”
Shytle says his goals after high school crystallized when he saw a YouTube video of a commencement speech delivered by Admiral William H. McRaven to the University of Texas Class of 2014. Shytle is not from a military family, but at a time when less than 1 percent of Americans serve during the war on terrorism, he says he was raised to respect those that have served. With that background, McRaven’s words resonated.
“He gave a speech about changing the world,” Shytle said. “He talked about his experiences with the Navy SEALs. I want to be different. I want to contribute, and I think the best way I can do that is do something good for my country. I feel the best way I can do that is through the Air Force Academy.”
Shytle has received many recruiting letters and Sloan believes he could play for ACC and SEC schools. But Shytle has generally flown below the recruiting radar by not sending out videos – he has one that includes scoring on a bicycle kick – or attending soccer events designed to raise a recruiting profile.
Sloan said he normally would communicate with college coaches about a player with Shytle’s talent, but he has limited his contacts to the Air Force’s coaching staff.
Shytle owns just about all Heritage season and career records as the Huskies’ leading scorer the past three seasons. He scored 41 goals with 13 assists as a senior to set a Cap-8 Conference record. Heritage (10-7-1) advanced to the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs before it was eliminated.
He’s a three-time all-state pick, the State Player of the Year as selected by the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association and one of two North Carolinians named an All-American pick as chosen by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
“He’s the most driven kid I’ve ever been around,” Sloan said. “Obviously as a soccer program we’re going to miss the goals he scored and all the things he did on the field. But to be truthful, what we’ll miss more are his intangibles. He was a great leader, great role model and great for team camaraderie.”