Staples Goalkeeper Nation
Tom Henske is a proud Long Island boy.
But the 3-time University of Virginia national champ is also proud of the long soccer legacy at Staples, where he enters his 7th year as goalkeeper coach.
Henske knows it’s important that his athletes understand they’re the latest in a long line of storied keepers. He created an email list — and page on this website — called “Staples Goalkeeper Nation,” tying present and past keepers together.
His latest project is profiling some of those back-in-the-day stars. He sent questionnaires to many. We’ll post their answers throughout the summer (and archive them on the “Goalkeeper Nation” page at this site). (NOTE: If you’re a former keeper but are not on Henske’s email list, contact him: email@example.com)
Sanders McNair ’09 was the 1st of 4 brothers to play Staples soccer. He’s also the 5th profile in our continuing Staples Goalkeeper Nation series. Each interview links goaltenders of the past with those of today and tomorrow. For more information on Staples Goalkeeper Nation, click here.
FAVORITE SOCCER MEMORY: I don’t have 1 specific soccer memory. But from the pasta dinners to the Lake Placid trip, I enjoyed all the moments related to simply being part of a team with players and coaches I enjoyed hanging out with. My great memories 6 years later aren’t about winning and losing games, or making saves. Rather, they’re about making friends and having fun.
COLLEGE EXPERIENCE: I graduated from Wake Forest University.
POST-COLLEGE LIFE: I’m only 2 years out of college, so this will likely change down the road. I’m living in New York City, and working as an analyst for a political and corporate research/consulting firm called Benenson Strategy Group.
HOW YOU BECAME A GOALKEEPER: Probably because I happened to have the best hands on my 3rd grade team and could punt the ball more than 10 yards. But as I grew older I remained in the position because I thought it played to my strengths as a player. I created advantages by thinking ahead and knowing how position myself well.
ADVICE FOR STAPLES KEEPERS: On the field, being a great keeper is as much about the mental aspects as the physical ones, so try to be the smartest keeper. That means always thinking about position on the field, where the ball will end up, your angle, etc. For me, as a less athletic keeper, that probably helped a ton.
More importantly, and it’s probably cliche, but just have fun in your time playing soccer at Staples. Down the road no one remembers ever goal they saved or gave up, and many of us won’t go on to play for a serious, competitive team past high school. So get to know and learn about your teammates and coaches, and just try to have a great time out there — even if you’re on the bench.
Dave Sharpe helped lead the 2006 team to an FCIAC championship, and the state finals. It was a legendary team — they won 2 consecutive penalty kick games in the state tournament, one of which went to 10 PKs, the other to 9 — Sharpe was one of its linchpins. He’s the 4th profile in our continuing Staples Goalkeeper Nation series. Each interview links goaltenders of the past with those of today and tomorrow. For more information on Staples Goalkeeper Nation, click here.
NAME: Dave Sharpe
FAVORITE SOCCER MEMORY: Really my who senior season. But to be more specific, the immediate aftermath of beating Farmington in PKs in the state quarterfinals. Not only did we move on to the semis, but we earned the right for at least 1 more practice and game as a team. Also, Farmington had been undefeated and nationally ranked (that helped us get a national ranking shortly thereafter). Also, we went 9-for-9 in PKs, and what keeper can ask for more than that? In fact, both keepers (Brad Green and I) shot and made our PKs. Finally, the game was at Farmington at night. We hadn’t eaten since lunch, so with double OT/PK shootout we didn’t finish until 9:30-ish. The girls team brought a bunch of Roly Poly sandwiches to the game, so we could eat in celebration rather than starve on the bus ride home.
COLLEGE: I attended Villanova for both undergrad (2011) and grad school (2012).
POST-GRADUATION: I currently work on the human resources aspects of mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and outsourcing for Thomson Reuters. I am also the goalkeeper coach for the Staples girls soccer team, when I can manage my work schedule.
HOW YOU BECAME A GOALKEEPER: I always was one. From the second the town league allowed us to play with keepers (7 years old, I think) I wanted to be in net. It has something to do with the autonomy a keeper has. I was lucky enough to play half of most games as a forward as well, until I started playing with FC Westchester. Then my goal-scoring days ended, and goal-saving became the #1 priority.
ADVICE FOR STAPLES KEEPERS: 1) Play as often as possible. In-season practices and games are huge, but the best edge you can get over other GKs is to play pickup during the off-season. Seeing 100 shots in an hour of 5-v-5 does wonders. 2) Be a student of the game. Watch the BPL and US men’s national team. Watch Neuer, Courtois, Howard, De Gea, Buffon, etc. Decide what about their play speaks to you, and try to incorporate it into your own style. (I love Neuer’s aggression off his line and desire to be part of the play with his feet.) 3) Listen to advice! You don’t necessarily have to follow it. Your own style is important, but you can’t make an informed decision about how you want to play unless you are aware of varying perspectives. Also, having a keeper coach like Tom is huge. Once you hit a certain level, general ideas and plans aren’t enough. You get too good for that to be effective. Having someone who can critique the tiny little minutiae that differentiate good from great is a huge asset.
Wes Martino — who captained the 1996 team to the state finals, and made one of the most legendary penalty kick saves in Wrecker history in the semifinal win over Simsbury — is the 3rd profile in our continuing Staples Goalkeeper Nation series. Each interview links goaltenders of the past with those of today and tomorrow. For more information on Staples Goalkeeper Nation, click here.
NAME: Wes Martino
FAVORITE SOCCER MEMORY: Winning FCIACs senior year, with my best friends on the field. A close second is the memory of my entire college career. It was amazing to play D-I soccer.
COLLEGE SOCCER: I played at College of Charleston (Division I in the Colonial Athletic Association).
POST-COLLEGE CAREER: I was an assistant college soccer coach for 2 years, while I was getting my MBA. I now work for IBM, selling software.
HOW DID YOU BECOME A GOALKEEPER: Our team’s keeper moved out of town when I was in 6th grade. Rich Hiltz — a great keeper for Staples in the 1970s — was coaching us. He told me to put the gloves on. I never looked back.
ADVICE FOR STAPLES KEEPERS: 1) Hard work every day in practice pays off. There will be moments in every game where you make a great save, and don’t even have to think about it. It’s almost as if everything is slow motion, and things just happen naturally. In reality, all of those footwork drills, catching drills, diving drills, all come together in that one moment. What a thrill!
2) You must concentrate for 90 minutes — all game, every game.
3) Enjoy your time playing. Stop every once in a while during a game, and take it all in. The game, the crowd, the lights, etc. Just make sure to do this during a stoppage of play!
NAME: Alex Deegan
CLASS: 1991. I was a 2-year starter at Staples. We had 2 very talented teams that won 2 FCIAC titles, but we never won a state championship. It kills me, to this day.
POST-STAPLES CAREER: I moved on to Davidson College thanks to a previous Staples keeper, Scott Zucker. He paved the way for me, and led Davidson as a captain to its first-ever Top 20 ranking. Somehow he convinced a coach that I could play D-I, despite my height!
I was lucky to be a starter from 1991-95 (I missed 1993 and ’94 with knee injuries). The 1992 team was a Final Four participant. We lost to San Diego, which went on to lose to some team from Virginia nicknamed the Wahoos (hey, Tom!) I think they were pretty good!
I left Davidson as a 3-year captain with 20 shutouts — but most importantly, lifelong friends and another great experience with tradition. I utilized soccer to get a 1st-class education.
After Davidson, I played 5+ years professionally, mostly with the Richmond Kickers. I had cups of coffee in MLS, including the Columbus Crew, DC United and FC Dallas (aka the Dallas Burn).
I was incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to play pro soccer at a unique time in American soccer history. My 1st year in the pros was 1996 — the same as the inaugural year of MLS.
I pursued my MBA wile playing soccer, and got lucky to end up in the world of finance after I retired from playing. I now work at a private equity firm (Juggernaut Capital) in the Washington, DC area.
I married a former University of North Carolina soccer captain, Elizabeth Marslender (she makes up for the lack of championships in my life!). We have 3 kids: Sophie, Haynes and McKay. We live in Arlington, Virginia.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM STAPLES SOCCER: I learned the value of work ethic, tradition and loyalty growing up under the banner of Staples soccer. The importance of team, playing for the shirt, and remembering those who came before me served me very well. I’m very thankful for the legends of Staples soccer, and all the time and interest they took in me. I feel very fortunate to be part of that tradition.
BIGGEST REGRET: Not being able to give back more to the program. But I’m very thankful that Tom has joined Dan. The commitment you bring is inspirational!
LITTLE KNOWN FACT: I trained with Bournemouth, the newly promoted Premiership team, and current manager Eddie Howe in 1998 for 3 weeks, before being called into training camp with the Columbus Crew.
NAME: Tracy McIntosh
CLASS: I am a proud graduate of the awesome Staples Class of 1971.
FAVORITE SOCCER MEMORY: Winning back-to-back state championships in 1969 and ’70. We had 17 shutouts in 1970. We went 17-1, unscored upon by any team in Connecticut that year. I had wonderful fullbacks in front of me!
POST-STAPLES CAREER: I received my BA in biology from Williams College in 1975 (and was co-captain of the soccer team my senior year). I received by Ph.D. in molecular neurobiology from Rutgers University, then spent a 30-year career teaching at various schools including Boston University, University of California-San Francisco, University of Connecticut Health Center and University of Pennsylvania.
HOW YOU BECAME A KEEPER: It was the coolest position by far (you can see the entire field, and watch the midfielders and forwards develop their scoring plays — given the players on our team at the time, it was like watching a beautiful work of art being painted). I loved feeling like the fullbacks and I were a special unit. I also loved diving saves!
ADVICE FOR CURRENT STAPLES KEEPERS: Work hard on reaction drills, and practice set plays constantly with 4-5 teammates. Play constantly during the off-season and on weekends. Stay engaged with the game at all times, and remember: No matter what anyone says, you are in charge! It’s not about the glory — it’s about the clean sheets!
Update: September 15, 2014:
Two items on our keeper training that we’ve implemented this season:
1. Once the season gets going it is very tricky to get in hard workouts. With 2-3 matches per week, on any given day we are either playing a match or are a day away from our next one. This can cause a keeper to actually lose fitness as the season progresses. We are instituting some hard workouts (sometimes the day before a match) so that we’re ready in November. For example, before the Wilton match we went for a 4-mile road run and did a challenging ab workout. Not only will this help us later in the season, but it is powerful psychologically for the goalies. As one of our guys joked, “there aren’t any other keepers in the country doing this today.” Their confidence goes through the roof after days like this. They also garner unbelievable respect from the field players who watch them paining through it (with a smile).
2. We are using a new technology through www.hudl.com. It is absolutely game-changing. We download our matches to the site, then edit them right on the screen. Can you imagine being able to coach the guys with typed notes right on the screen, with “pen” drawings, that I can email to the keepers? Absolutely amazing! I’m enjoying using this with the guys, and already see the benefits.
Update: September 7, 2014:
Welcome back my good friends to our Staples Keeper Nation ranks. I’m glad to announce that we kick-off our season on Tuesday with a big match against St. Joseph at home. We have 3 solid keepers this year. While the starting keeper hasn’t yet been officially announced it looks like we’ll have lots of competition throughout the season which will keep everyone sharp.
I thought you’d like to see the bios they’ve put together. I’ll be sure to update you throughout the season on their progress on our march to the state championship. If you’re planning to be in town please let me know. I’d love to have you speak with the troops.
Here are your 2014 keepers:
§ Goalkeeper since travel U-9
§ Everton America Regional team 2010-2012
§ Beachside Premier Team U-15/16; played with Beachside Premier Team U-17/18
§ Will be playing on Beachside Premier Team U-17/18 this spring
Staples soccer experience:
§ Freshman (2012): backup to James Hickok; appeared in 4 varsity matches, giving up 0 goals
§ Sophomore (2013): 8 shutouts in 16 games; suffered concussion resulting in missing 4 ½ regular season games; lost in state quarterfinals, FCIAC quarterfinals
Enjoys playing rec basketball, playing drums, hanging out with friends, family, and dog. Father lives in Fairfield and is assistant coach of Fairfield Ludlowe varsity soccer team. Lives
with his mother (a great author/editor) in Westport. Two sets of twins in his family. Twin brother and best friend plays varsity lacrosse. Two sisters (als0 twins) are juniors at the University of the New
Hampshire and University of Vermont.
BRENDEN PRICE (DINO)
§ Travel Soccer from 4th to 8th grade, as a goalie and midfielder; switched from goalie and midfield to just goalie in 8th grade
§ 9th grade: made the freshman team and played backup behind Noah for a quarter of the season; became starter once Noah was called up. Freshman team went 11-0-1.
§ Made varsity sophomore year of high school. Stepped up big when Noah received a concussion, and started the last 5 games of the regular season.
§ Plays for Everton Regional team; starting keeper
Tennis: Played on JV team the past 2 years; trying to make varsity as a junior.
Hobbies: Plays guitar in free time; loves to pay rec basketball in the offseason.
Older brother Sterling was a varsity soccer player last year.
Started playing soccer around 5 years old; played Westport travel U9-U11. Played goalie in a U-10 indoor game when no one else wanted to play; loved it and has played since.
Played Beachside fall of 2012; had to quit because of 2 sports.
Played Majic next 2 seasons
Was on JV for first half of freshman year. Got moved up after Greenwich game last year
Made varsity for lacrosse in the spring
Trained with James Hickok for last 3 summers
2 varsity letters freshman year
Real name is William Hallgarten; has gone by Ziggy since birth.
Born in California. Parents divorced but live near each other.
In free time hangs out with friends, plays rec basketball, listens to music, and has a strange talent of the diablo (European toy on a string).
Has a 7 year old brother, Oliver.
Update: February 16, 2014: Tom Henske found this great story in the Daily Mail. It’s about how keepers handle the “punishing psychological toll” of their position. Click here to read.
Update: October 4, 2013: For an insightful Westport News story on current keeper Noah Schwaeber and Staples Keeper Nation, click here.
Update: September 23, 2013: We had a great visit from Andrew Cornish ’85 to our training this week. It was awesome having a keeper alum stop by to give our guys a pep talk — particularly all the way from Wyoming. Thanks AC!!
Welcome to Staples Keeper Nation!
Staples has a long, rich tradition of amazing goalkeepers.
A large part of the Wreckers’ success — since George Scott’s first year in the nets, in 1958 — is due to having quality keepers, year after year after year. The tradition has continued for over 5 decades, highlighted by names like Shane Kennedy (the NCAA career record holder for shutouts while at Babson College, then a draft pick of the New York Cosmos) and Alex Deegan (who took Davidson College to the NCAA College Cup semifinals not long after leaving Staples).
While most high school programs struggle to fill assistant coaches’ positions, Staples brought in Paul Melitsanopoulos as a specialty goalkeeper coach in 2007. His arrival acknowledged the importance of the keeper position to Staples soccer success, and catapulted the program to the next level.
When Paul joined the Norwalk High coaching staff in 2009 (to coach his brother’s team to an eventual state championship), head coach Dan Woog immediately snagged Tom Henske. The former University of Virginia star — whose penalty kick save gave the Cavaliers a national championship over Santa Clara — had moved to Westport, and was looking to get involved with the soccer community. He found a quick home on The Hill — and that same year, helped Michael McCarthy earn the Wreckers’ 12th state title. With, of course, a shutout in the finals.
This is the page for all Staples keepers — past and present — and those who appreciate the uniqueness of this special position.
Our Goalkeeping Philosophy
Tom Henske says:
Our goalkeepers are the foundation of our success. Because of where they stand, they view the entire field. They take on the role of an “extra coach.” Staples keepers bark orders to their teammates, from the opening whistle on.
The expectation of Staples keepers is that they are students of the game. They spend many hours watching video of high-level goalkeepers — understanding strategy and tactics — and video of themselves (sometimes in painstaking detail), to understand the techniques that will take them to the next level.
We look for keepers with high “soccer IQ”s, and who constantly strive to widen the intellectual gap between them and their competitors. They are expected to excel academically too. A Staples keeper must uphold the highest standards: on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Their ability to balance these 3 areas of life lays the foundation of Staples Keeper Nation.
While we produce keepers who are able to play at the next level, our goal is a program is to prepare them for life. Goalkeeping is a model they will return to often, as a reference point in their careers, communities and families.
The goal of Staples Keeper Nation is not to build elite-level goalkeepers. Though that is a natural outcome of our method, it is not our focus.
Our primary goal is to build skill sets in young men, which they carry with them the rest of their lives.
The lessons learned in goal are very life-like. They correlate well with what they experience once they enter the “real world.” For example:
- Taking a leadership role
- Communicating with different personality types, to bring the best performance out of each
- Handling pressure
- Putting in hours of tedious work, being ready for one crucial moment
- Understanding the uniqueness of every situation, and adjusting to each on one’s own.
These “real life” skills will last long beyond keepers’ playing days. Our “goal” is to build young men to be part of Staples Keeper Nation.
Check this page often for updates on Staples keepers — past, present and future
To receive regular email updates from Tom Henske, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’ve got any Staples keeper photos, email: email@example.com – we’ll post them here!
Fun fact: Albie Loeffer — founder of the Staples soccer program — was a goalkeeper at the University of Connecticut in the 1930s.