Courted by Chris Potash (then head coach), Billy Schuler came to Peddie as an eighth grader, eager to make an impact on Peddie’s basketball program. While he would continue to play basketball for three years at Peddie, it was on the soccer pitch that he had the greatest impact. Schuler completely shifted the ways people thought about Peddie’s soccer program.
Perhaps the most decorated soccer player in Peddie’s history, he was a seven-time state cup winner, first with the Players Development Academy and then Match Fit Academy FC. He was a member of state, regional and national Olympic Development Programs (pre-academy) and a two-time area player of the year and team MVP. In 2007 Schuler was named both a PARADE High School All-American and an NSCAA / Adidas Youth All-American. That same year he played with the U-17 National Team in the FIFA World Cup in Korea.
While his teammate Mark Stanton would frequently yell out, “He has no left!” when Schuler got the ball, Schuler had everything a coach could ever want in a soccer player, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill noticed. He was named to the College Cup All-Tournament Team during his freshman year at UNC, the first-team All-ACC team in his sophomore year, and was a first-team All-American and one of three finalists for the Hermann Award, college soccer’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy, during his senior year. His highlight reel is a collection of incredible displays of athleticism and technical ability.
Schuler was offered a Generation Adidas contract by the MLS, and many soccer analysts had predicted he would be selected as the first pick in that year’s draft. Instead, he accepted an international contract to play for Hammarby IF in Sweden, home to some of the most ravenous fans in Europe. One of his goals for FC Hammarby went viral on social media in Europe – the thunderous ovation shaking the stadium as they chanted, “Schuler! Schuler!” Schuler returned to the states in 2014 to play in the MLS. He has since retired from professional soccer.
Although Schuler has traveled the world playing the beautiful game, he returns to Peddie frequently, even volunteering as an assistant coach during his off-seasons from professional clubs. Asked why he is willing to spend so much of his free time with Peddie’s soccer program, Schuler replied, “High school soccer is fun – it is one place in soccer where that is a priority.”
A more humble athlete would be hard to find. A more gifted soccer player Peddie has not seen.