High School Soccer

Catholic League boys’ soccer season preview

Photo: Lisa McFarlane

The Catholic League is made up of 13 teams. Ten teams make the playoffs. In 2012 Cardinal O’Hara (1-9-2), Bishop McDevitt (1-10-1), a 2A school, and Neuman-Goretti (0-12-0) did not make the playoffs. Unless they are able to bring in new talent, they will face another uphill battle this year.

The Middle

The middleweights of the league are:

  • Bonner-Prendergast (5-6-1)
  • Lansdale Catholic (5-6-1)
  • Archbishop Carroll (4-6-2)
  • Conwell Egan (5-7-0).

Carroll and Lansdale are 2A schools. Lansdale beat Conwell-Egan 2-0, while Carroll beat Bonner 2-1 in the play-in round of the CL playoffs. While all three 2A teams, Archbishop Wood, Lansdale Catholic, and Carroll went out in the quarterfinals, Wood advanced to the D12 2A game on the strength of a better regular season record.

Bonner-Prendergast, under coach Jim Strandberg, aims to return to the playoffs this year. Talking about his team this year, Standberg said, “We return goalie Jon Mathis, forward Alex Turner and midfielder Seamus Moran. We are looking for his brother Colin to anchor the defense at sweeper along with midfielders Sean O’Connell and Jake Miller. Our goal is always to make the playoffs and compete against the best teams in the State.”

Lansdale Catholic is confident this year, with 21 returning JV or Varsity players. They will have a freshmen goalkeeper, but the team looks to the leadership of senior John Melchiorre and junior Jacob Saba in midfield, senior Micheal Lewis at target forward, senior John Piccini at center back, and senior Nick Cunningham also in midfield. Coach Joseph Wilson has the goal of returning the team for an seventh consecutive time to the playoffs and into the quarterfinals.

Conwell-Egan is the only 1A team in the league, so they will go to the D12 1A game. This year, they expect to retake the title, after a disappointing loss on PKs to Masterman last year. They graduated eight starters but have some young players who will contribute. Junior Jake Webb, who plays club ball for Philly Soccer Club, plays center mid. Jake Kemery started last year at center back as a freshmen. He plays his club soccer for United German Hungarians.

The Top

Roman Catholic (7-4-1) finished in fifth place. Coach Raymond DeStephanis said, “We’ll be young and exciting, and the league is wide open this year.” They can look to senior center attacking midfielder Diego Ramirez, who was first team All-Catholic as a junior, for a major contribution. He plays club at Philadelphia Soccer Club. Roman features a brother pairing on defense with Christiano Aiello-Pang, a senior, at left back, and also at Philadelphia Soccer Club. His sophomore brother Stephano is at centerback. Roman competed with the top teams last year, and a couple more wins would make them contenders for the league. Their goal is to come in the top four, get home field advantage, and finally win the league this year.

Archbishop Wood (6-4-2) was competitive as well, dropping narrow decisions to the top teams last year. Archbishop Wood is 2A, and won the D12 2A title game against Franklin Towne Charter (from the Public League) 1-0 last year. Coach Joe Krantz feels it will be a good year, and is proud of some close results, including holding on against Judge in the quarters before conceding the tiebreaker  in overtime.

This year, perennial contenders Father Judge (9-2-1), Archbishop Ryan (9-3-0), and St. Joseph’s Preparatory HS (9-2-1) look to unseat 2011 and 2012 League Champion La Salle College HS (11-1-0). La Salle is young this year, having graduated nine starters. Matt Lucas, a second team all-city forward with twenty goals, will be a major threat this year. He has been getting “a lot of nice college attention”, according to Coach Bob Peffle. Tyler Gimble, a junior midfielder, will also be a big contributor for the 2012 D12 3A Champions.

Father Judge has a strong midfield and will look to return to the Catholic League championship. Coach John Dunlop considers La Salle the team to beat but believes his team has potential, with seven returning starters, including Ryan Nork,at center mid and Joey Hansen at attacking center mid, who has interest from 10 Division 1 schools. Both players play for a top club team that is going to the state finals. Tom Hanson will be another candidate for the best player in the league. Among other motivations will be the lovely new turf field the alumni have given to the school.


  1. Thanks, Josh. From one bench warmer to another, I appreciate the CL update. Her we go, St. Joe’s, here we go!

  2. Aidan lunch says:

    I’m the best player in the league predicting a hat trick next game #sjp

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