High School Soccer

Philadelphia Catholic League 2015 season preview

Since the reinstatement of the city championship game in 2008, the Catholic League has won the championship every year. The top ten of the twelve teams make the playoffs, with 1-6 getting a bye into the quarterfinal.

This year looks like a return to recent trends in the league with both Father Judge and La Salle College High School rounding teams into top form. Both teams reached the semis last year with young squads. Defending league champion Archbishop Wood will be rebuilding with a new coach. Roman Catholic, last year’s other finalist, should expect to compete as well and came close to winning the league in that final game.

St. Joseph’s Preparatory School should be there with that top group. Coach James Murray leads the St. Joseph’s Prep team for the fortieth season this year. Other coaches have said St. Joe’s is a team to watch this year.
Pictured in the first row, from left: Danny McDonald, Tommy Rosenbaum, Pat Clark, Sean Heggan, Matt Brown, Ryan O'Neill, and Tyler Celline. Second row: (left) Chris Sugden, Dan Trodden, Dan Knott, Nick Wolf, Jack Hilferty, Jake McMonagle, CJ Serratore. Last row: Coach Steve Friend, Coach Hugh Kelly, AJ Karl, Brendan Marshall, Steve Smith, Bobby McNichol, KJ Woodring, Pat Friend, and Coach Joe Krantz.

Reigning league champions Archbishop Wood. Photo courtesy of Wood Soccer

At Wood, Coach Joseph Krantz brought his boys through the championship. Having retired a few years ago from teaching, Krantz also retired from coaching after last season. Newly crowned head coach Hughie Kelly will guide a younger team led by Mike Smith, Nick Sonsoni, and Scott Pearson. With all the transitions it will be a learning year for the Vikings. Click here to see a video highlighting Woods’ 2014 league and district championships.

La Salle CHS also saw a veteran retire when Bob Peffle passed the wheel to Coach Tom McCaferty , after twenty seven years at the helm. The team returns a strong core including all-stars Spencer Patton, Brett Hladczuk, and Nick Carradorini.

At Roman Catholic, the team has steadily gotten better as much of the talent that was once funneled into North Catholic, the alma mater of Philadelphia Union goalkeeper John McCarthy, now comes to the downtown school. Speaking of the young pro goalie, he is the goalkeeper coach for Mark Tobin, his cousin. The Cahillites look strong with eight returning starters from a team that fought hard in the league championship, pushing Wood deep into extra time before conceding.

Lansdale Catholic, the perennial 2A champion for District 12, will push hard and likely finish in the top five teams. The Crusaders sent Jake Saba to La Salle University to Philadelphia University. Replacing them as key contributors will be Ryan Maragarity, a fast scoring threat. Jack Kelly will lead the defense with Jack Kane a three-year starter as keeper. Head coach Joe Wilson reports Kane gets better each year. Sean Rutz will anchor the midfield for this young and talented team.

Archbishop Ryan’s website says the team has won 12 of the last 23 CL championships, which indicates that the site was last updated in 2006. The team has not finished in the top five in recent years, but can take solace in a push into the quarterfinals at the end of 2014.

Conwell-Egan graduated only two starters, with Jake Webb going to play at Immaculata College, which means the Eagles are returning most of their starting line up. Jacob Kemery will lead the defense from the center. Ryan Richards will be the productive force up front. In midfield, CEC will look the leadership of Aidan DeCamillo. With so many returning players Conwell-Egan will be a force.

Likely duking it out for the last two playoff spaces will be Archbishop Carroll, Bonner-Predergast, Cardinal O’Hara, and Bishop McDevitt.

At Cardinal O’Hara, Kevin Curley takes the reins for his first season. The team will be strong defensively, and much of their success will hinge on whether or not they can score goals. Seniors Mark Switliski and Dominic Degnan will lead the back line, while Kyle Budgick will run the midfield.

Bishop McDevitt, the alma mater of Union head coach Jim Curtin, ended at the bottom of the table last year, but a group of players from the Jenkintown school played well in a recreational summer league.  The team only loses three starters and can expect to compete, particularly for the 1A spot. The team will be led by goalie Alex Wilson, who will have a big job with the loss of Brendon Hanagan, a centerback and defensive leader who will kick for Delaware Valley University’s football team. Dan Ehrlich will lead the midfield and spark the attack for the Lancers.


  1. John Rossi says:

    Hey Josh – great preview, as always. Just a heads up: Mike Carr and Greg Bellwoar graduated in May.

    • John Rossi…..really nice hit piece on Darius, get your facts straight before you open your fat mouth! You have no clue of the situation……and only spoke of one side. Also, and now you really look stupid, he’s playing at UMBC this fall! Do your homework dude! You just wanted an angle for the PDL club…….and you got one with Darius……fit into your little agenda nicely! You really shouldn’t write at all with apiece like this……

      • Wasn’t directed at you Josh, thanks though…….good luck this season! Sorry about all the whiners coming on here too! What about my kids team…….whaaaa!

  2. You mention Judge and La Salle are rounding teams into top form, but only write about the latter in any sort of detail. Could we get a scouting report on the Crusaders added to this? John Dunlop got a ton out of those young kids last season, they should be fun to watch a year older.

  3. Josh, how about Prep’s senior keeper Frank Maniscalco who has been a starter since his sophomore year and has put up numbers as good or better than anyone in the league. He had 7 shutouts last season and only allowed 7 goals in Catholic league play.

  4. Hey Josh great job with the boys I was wondering will you be doing one for the Girls Catholice league

  5. The high water mark for LS soccer was 2012. LS sports across the board had their golden years from 1990-2013ish. The current administration and Athletic Dept are the worst they have had in decades………The empire is crumbling, they could care less about athletic success……..it’s more about perception these days. Notice, did they really win anything last year? They should compete this year because of the layover from BP’s years there, and that’s if the new coach has clue on how to shape it……..jury is still out on that one. When BP left LS, he passed the baton to Judge…….they should have the PCL on lockdown for the forseeable future….unless the PIAA has some stones! District 12 doesn’t call them on anything!

    • Lets see especially since I do not know you, so I will just take your statement, “The empire is crumbling” One I never see them as an empire all they do is compete and win. So unless I have my facts wrong LSCHS won the Catholic and city championships in Golf, Indoor Track and field, outdoor track and field, Swimming who was also state champs in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. Basketball went to state finals in 2014, won volleyball, wrestling, baseball state champs in 2012 and 2014, Lacrosse, So you would see that as crumbling? Well I will just, ask you to take a walk into La Salle’s gym and then decide for yourself if its really crumbling. What you sound like is someone with an ax to grind at LSCHS. And this site should not be where people can make FALSE and inflammatory attacks at people they do not even know. Unless that’s your ax.

      • No axe to grind homie…….just simple fact. You will never have the collection of coaches and athletes in the building that they did the past 20 years……the turn over has begun……..and the schools mindset has completely changed from ten years ago. The only sport people won’t catch up is swimming…….even precious lax is getting gained on…..so stop. I hear this from people in the building for crying out loud!

      • And honestly Rock………I’m not reveling in it…….it’s a shame!

  6. Maybe you should interview a coach instead of reading websites, incomplete opinions of your “preview “

  7. The picture of the wood soccer team you have is from the 2012 season.

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