Photo: Courtesy of the Philadelphia Union
Zack Steffen arrived at the University of Maryland with quite a soccer resume. Top Drawer Soccer had rated the native of Downingtown, Pal, the No. 1 goalkeeping prospect in the country. He had been a high school All-American. He had played for U.S. youth national teams. And he was already a top prospect in Philadelphia Union’s academy.
So it should be little surprise that he produced one of the best seasons by a college goalkeeper this season, even as a freshman, and was named top defensive player in the NCAA College Cup. His stunning late save against Virginia in the semifinals preserved a title game trip for Maryland.
Steffen started every game for Maryland this year. He had a slow start, getting blasted for 12 goals in his first five games due in large part to his returning from a two-month injury layoff. But he picked up steam, recording 8 shutouts in the regular season and sporting a 1.14 goals against average with a 71% save rate.
The University of Maryland is beginning to look like a finishing school for Philadelphia Union goalkeepers. First Christ Seitz, then Zac MacMath. Next is probably Zach Steffen. He says he has no plans to leave just yet, but he knows that when he decides to, a pro contract with his hometown club probably awaits him.
Steve Neumann, Georgetown: Last year’s PSP Amateur Player of the Year put in another big year for Georgetown, recording 10 goals and 6 assists and making the NSCAA second team All-American team. The New Hope native will be available in next month’s MLS amateur draft, with some projecting him going as high as No. 2 — to Philadelphia.
Andrew O’Malley, Notre Dame: Talk about a memorable day. Not only do you help shut down the nation’s top attacker in Maryland’s Patrick Mullins, but O’Malley scored the game-winning goal in the national title game in front of his hometown crowd. What a coming out party for the center back from West Chester. If O’Malley leaves school to turn pro, his stock may have risen.
Matt Crawford, Holy Ghost Prep: The senior missed the start of the high school season due to a thyroid problem, and his team struggled to a 1-3 record without him. Once Crawford returned to the lineup, he and his teammates won 18 of their next 19 games as he led Holy Ghost to the PIAA 2A state championship.