Panther Profiles: Boyd Balances Soccer With Academics, Career ... And Music
Nov. 7, 2012
MILWAUKEE - Robbie Boyd has spent most of his soccer-playing career in the Midwest, proving that size doesn't matter. Despite being just a junior for the Milwaukee men's soccer team this season, the 5-foot-7-inch Mequon native and Milwaukee Marquette High School graduate has certainly seen his share of success on and off the field.
Like any student-athlete at the NCAA Division I level, Boyd needs to balance his time. He has plenty of commitments when it comes to his college life, whether it is soccer, classes, training, weightlifting, homework or even his social life and family obligations. Boyd takes it a step past that and even throws in a hobby that he has grown to love.
In his time when not concentrating on soccer and academics, Boyd has taught himself to read music and play the guitar. Starting as just a hobby at age 15, Boyd has had the chance to improve his skills as a part of UWM offered music program.
"I have been teaching myself for the past seven years or so," Boyd said. "My parents gave me a guitar when I was about 11, but I wasn't into it. I started watching some videos and got into YouTube and started teaching myself."
With soccer and school, Boyd keeps a very busy schedule, but always tries to make time for his hobby.
"Music was my first interest, but seeing people doing amazing things with guitars is what I really enjoy," Boyd said. "It became a hobby just to listen, which then grew to trying it myself. I have played in front of people a few times, but I certainly try and play at least a little bit every day."
And the creative side of Boyd has come through as well. This isn't just playing what is in front of him - he also creates his own music.
"I write my own stuff a lot and I like to branch off," Boyd said. "I taught myself by learning other people's music and then took a couple of classes here at UWM. I took what I learned and tried to implement my own stuff."
As a prep athlete, he led his team to a pair of state titles and was a National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American and both the NSCAA and Gatorade State Player of the Year as a senior.
He spent much of his amateur and teenage years play for the traveling soccer club Chicago Magic, which is connected with the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
Playing his high school career at Milwaukee Marquette High School, Boyd credits his high school coach, Bob Spielman, for surrounding him with college-ready talent to help build his game and skills.
In his time with the Chicago Magic club team, Boyd had the opportunity to showcase his ability at a regional UC Santa Barbara camp, which helped him earn a scholarship.
"I had played three or four years with the Magic before getting recruited by UCSB," Boyd said. "It was through one of their regional camps, where I was named MVP and they offered me a scholarship after that."
So Boyd headed out West to UCSB, which was recently coming off the NCAA National Championship at the time.
After redshirting his true freshman campaign, Boyd decided to return to the Milwaukee area and bring his talents to the UWM soccer team.
"Coming home was great, I was little homesick in California and came home for the right reasons," Boyd said. "It has been great being able to play all my college games in front of my family and friends. My mom and dad literally make it to every single game. They are able to watch me play all the time, so it's nice to have those familiar faces around."
In his first year at Milwaukee, Boyd was able to team up once again with his brother and goalie, Bryce Boyd, who had been apart of his high school team.
"Having Bryce in the back of the net as the last line of defense was great," Boyd said. "We both have a lot of confidence in each other and it was a very good experience playing with him again."
Heading into his junior season, Boyd was named team captain along with senior goalie John Shakon by first-year head coach Kris Kelderman. The junior attacking midfielder has noticed a new feel around the program as Coach Kelderman and his staff have added a professional attitude to the team.
"They (the coaching staff) instill the best values about the program and display those to everybody," Boyd said. "They are putting forth a lot of positive things and it is showing on the field."
Being a captain as a junior is no easy task, but one that Boyd took on with pride and as a challenge.
"It means the world to me," Boyd said. "It is a lot of responsibility as a captain, the coaches look for me to be a mediator between their staff and the players. I have enjoyed communicating with all my teammates and have enjoyed keeping our team on the same page goals in perspective." Body said on the honor and role of being a Panther captain.
A biochemistry major and a regular member of the Horizon League Academic Honor Roll, Boyd takes his academics very seriously and has personal academic, as well as soccer goals, he would like to achieve. However, if the opportunity to play professional soccer after college was available, the thought to pursue it would certainly be there.
"It's always been a dream, but I have big goals academically as well," Boyd said. "If I had the opportunity, it would be difficult to turn down."
As far as who he has patterned his soccer game after, the Panther midfielder has always looked up to professionally to Dutch National team star striker, and recent Manchester United acquisition, Robin Van Persie along with New York Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry.
Boyd has played numerous roles in his UWM career, including stints on the backline helping the defense as well as his customary spot on the offensive side.
"I really like the position I am in right now," Boyd said. "I've played right-mid, I've played right-back and now I am playing right forward in kind of a different formation. The style of play suits me well with an aggressive-attacking attitude."
As the 2012 season winds down, Boyd discussed the importance of establishing Milwaukee as the premier soccer program in the state of the Wisconsin.
"We want to be looked at nationally as the team to beat from this region and a place future players are eager to play at," Boyd said. "When we head into the games against the Wisconsin's and Marquette's, we really want to do all we can to win those matches. And, in the case of crosstown rival Marquette, bring home the Milwaukee Cup."