Per a team press release this morning, backup goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth has signed a brand new deal with the New England Revolution. In accordance with the usual league and team rules and policies, further details on the contract were not disclosed.
"We're pleased Bobby has decided to re-sign and continue his career in New England," Revolution general manager Michael Burns said. "Bobby is a player who's made great progress as a goalkeeper during his time here and we believe his improvement will continue as he competes for regular first-team minutes."
Shuttleworth's new deal comes on the heels of an excellent finish to the 2012 season, where he started the last five games of the season (seven overall), posting a year-long goals-against average of 0.71 - the best among backup goalkeepers with at least three starts - and three shutouts. In 2013, he's started two matches, giving up a goal in each and has yet to earn a win or a draw. His 2012-2013 win-loss record is 3-5-1.
It's hard to believe that Shuttleworth is already a five-year veteran in Foxboro. He joined the team on a free transfer from the Austin Aztex in 2009, but was loaned to the Western Mass Pioneers that year, as Brad Knighton had a stranglehold on the backup spot behind Matt Reis. Since 2010, Shuttleworth has been the undisputed number two, and in the last year or so, has legitimately challenged to be the number one.
Could this be a signal of intent that Shuttleworth is the keeper of the future? It's difficult to say without the full details of his contract. One can expect that he didn't re-up for the same $44,100 that he made last year; thinking logically, it makes little sense for a team to have more than one goalkeeper on the roster making above league minimum. That said, more than a few teams do exactly that, and in those cases, it does seem as though there's at least some hint of goalkeeper controversy, similar to the situation in New England. Plus, there's Luis Soffner to consider, the consensus best goalkeeper in this year's draft.
The fact is that Matt Reis is getting older every day, and his knee issues so far this season could be an indication of diminishing durability. Could it be his last season in Foxboro? It's tough to bet against him, but it seems to be shaping up that way. Even if Soffner is considered the true goalkeeper of the future, the Revs will need someone to fill in the season(s) while he matures, and Shuttleworth is perfectly primed to do just that. This move could indicate that the Revs are thinking right along those lines.
Shuttleworth's career stats: 22 GP, 22 GS, 1941 minutes, 6-12-4 record, 1.409 GAA, 63 saves, 4 shutouts
Shuttleworth's 2012 line: 7 GP, 7 GS, 630 minutes, 3-3-1 record, 0.71 GAA, 23 saves, 3 shutouts
Shuttleworth's 2013 line: 2 GP, 2 GS, 180 minutes, 0-2-0 record, 1.00 GAA, 5 saves, 0 shutouts