A spirited soccer practice at the Rose Bowl has ended, and
Andrew Shue of the Los Angeles Galaxy is steering his sleek
black Porsche into the heart of Hollywood. The car is hardly
eye-catching in this part of town, but the driver draws plenty
of stares. Two bronze-skinned young blondes in a BMW convertible
recognize Shue and in an effort to get his attention, swerve
madly through traffic, leaving bystanders to wonder if someone
is filming a Dukes of Hazzard reunion.
All this for a second-string midfielder in a first-year
professional league? Granted, the Galaxy has emerged as the
success story of the fledgling Major League Soccer, winning its
first 10 games and drawing a league-high average of 34,107 fans
to its home matches at the Rose Bowl. But hard-core soccer
loyalists can't be terribly thrilled that, in a league filled
with U.S. World Cup veterans and foreign superstars, the face
most recognizable to American audiences, and the one most likely
to cause a car accident, belongs to Shue, who plays hunk Billy
Campbell on the Fox TV series Melrose Place.
An athlete jumping into the entertainment field is not uncommon,
but Shue, 30, represents a rare reversal of this trend: an actor
playing on a major professional sports team. Yet Shue, a former
All-Ivy League player at Dartmouth College and a professional
for one season in Zimbabwe, considers himself a soccer player
first. He got into acting at the prodding of his older sister,
actress Elisabeth Shue. After landing the Melrose Place role
with virtually no experience, Andrew stayed in shape by booting
soccer balls around the set.
Shue takes issue with the standard American argument that there
isn't enough scoring in soccer. "That is such a simplistic way
of looking at it," he says. "To me soccer is like life. You're
constantly moving and striving toward a goal, but you have to
accomplish it within a flow. There are times when you come so
close and get derailed, but that makes it all the more
satisfying when you reach your destination. That's why you see
players drop to their knees and cry when they score. There may
be only three times in your life, or even one time, when you
truly shine, but that doesn't negate the rest of the process."
Shue's life has been shaped significantly by the legacy of his
older brother, Will, who died in a swimming accident in 1988
during a family vacation in Maine. Will was a star in the Shues'
soccer-mad hometown, South Orange, N.J., and preceded Andrew on
the Dartmouth team. Andrew still has a hard time discussing the
tragedy. "Soccer was our bond, the thing that defined us," he
says. "The day he died we had been playing soccer all day.
Playing now is a return to our roots, the thing that makes our
In 1989, still reeling from Will's death and unsure of his
future, Shue went to Zimbabwe, where he taught high school math.
He also played for the Bulawayo Highlanders. In his first game
Shue sparked a comeback from a 3-0 deficit and led his team to a
3-3 tie. He was carried off the field to chants of
"Mafana"--which means "likable boy who delivers the goods." Shue
became known as Sipho--the word for "gift" in the Ndebele
language--and helped the Highlanders to the B.A.T. Super League
When he returned home to the U.S. in 1990, Shue worked as a
runner for ABC Sports in New York City before taking his
sister's advice to try acting. In 1991 he went to Hollywood and
quickly landed a part in a pilot that eventually fell through.
But he was later signed by producer Aaron Spelling for Melrose
Place. For Shue, acting is less of a passion than a means to an
end: In 1993 he and a childhood friend, Michael Sanchez,
cofounded Do Something, a national charity organization that
supports young people active in community service projects.
After the first 10 games of the MLS season Shue had appeared in
four games and played a total of 86 minutes. On May 12 he set up
the winning goal in the Galaxy's 2-1 victory over the San Jose
Clash, centering a pass to Greg Vanney from the left wing.
Because the pass bounced off Clash defender Paul Holocher, Shue
did not receive an assist. He made up for that with an assist in
the Galaxy's 4-0 rout of the MetroStars on June 9.
"I want to do everything," says Shue, whose wife, Jennifer, is
expecting the couple's first child in early August. "I want to
play soccer for a few more years if my body holds up. I want to
build Do Something so that it can fundamentally change every
city in the country. And I want to keep on creating in the
entertainment world, whether it's acting, producing or doing a
really cool TV news magazine show."
It's enough to keep him in the public eye.
COLOR PHOTO: DENIS POROY/AP Shue's career could bounce in several directions. [Andrew Shue]