Bishop Stang’s Lily Shields is the 2021 Women’s Football Player of the Year

Lily Shields has been a football kid for as long as she can remember.

“I’ve been playing since I was five,” she said. “I got my start in the Freetown-Lakeville Youth League. I love playing football. It’s a tough sport, but the rewards of being part of a team are worth it.”

His father, Bob, played an important role in his life as a footballer. He started coaching her in fourth grade and he coached her for four years at Bishop Stang. He also coaches the Juventus Academy travel team she plays with in Boston.

“He’s been my coach for a really long time and he’s been doing a great job,” she said. “I owe him everything because he helped me become the player I am. He’s the best coach I’ve ever played for, without bias. It’s special to have the chance to play for him.”

Except for six games she missed as a junior, Shields was a four-year starter for the Spartans, who play in the competitive Catholic Central League and have built one of the best programs in the region.

“I had great teammates around me and we had strong squads,” she said. “Teams that worked together with great chemistry. The program became strong. We were able to add great players every year and it’s been a great experience to be part of a winning program.”

Bishop Stang's Lily Shields chases the through ball that was played to her.

Football is a year-round pursuit for Shields, who rarely takes a day off from the sport.

“I do something football related every day of the week,” said Shields, who trains at Be Fit in Lakeville and B.Select in New Bedford. “Football is a big part of my life and I prioritize it.”

For Bob Shields, the years flew by as he watched his daughter progress as a football player.

Lily Shields shoots the goal kick for Bishop Stang.

“It’s been a whirlwind of practices, practices and games,” he said. “I’ve seen her develop into a fast, physical player who is good on the ball and knows how to create scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates. She’s had a lot to deal with. Teams have thrown double teams at her and triples trying to take took her out of matches, but she always held on and never stopped working.”

After all she’s been through, all the blood, sweat and tears, Lily Shields wouldn’t change a thing.

“I put my heart and soul into football and loved every minute of it,” she said. “I’m always looking to improve and I want to play as long as possible”

Lily Shields

ALL ABOUT LILY’S SHIELDS

WHY SHE WAS SELECTED: Proved to be one of the most versatile players in the region with 29 goals and 16 assists for the Spartans, who finished a 10-5-4 season with a 3-0 round of 16 loss to Weston in the division. 3 state tournament. Earned first-team All-State honors in the Eastern Mass and Catholic Central League All-Star honors.

KEY STATS: Finished with 93 career goals and 53 assists. She probably would have been a 100-goal scorer if she hadn’t missed six games during her junior season due to injury. Scored 43 goals as a sophomore.

MVP MOMENT: Passed forward to defense in a Catholic Central League season-ending game against Bishop Fenwick and assisted on the Spartans goal in a 1-1 draw against the Crusaders. “She did what was best for the team,” coach Bob Shields said. “That’s what team-oriented players do.”

FORMER ROCHESTER COACH JEFF LOMBARD: “Lily has a good touch on the ball and a great understanding of how to get to the goal. She was hard to knock the ball down and a great finisher.”

REMARKS: Will continue his football career at American International College, an NCAA Division II school in Springfield that plays in the Northeast-10 conference. Has a 3.8 GPA in Stang and plans to major in physiotherapy. Likes math and science classes. Enjoys shopping and spending time with family and friends. Grew up in Lakeville, where she still lives.