USL - Bethlehem Steel FC

Tomas Romero’s big save

Photo courtesy Georgetown Hoyas

Georgetown won the NCAA men’s Division I championship Sunday 7-6 on penalty kicks, after extra time had seen the Hoyas and Virginia finish tied 3-3.

Freshman goalkeeper Tomas Romero saved the Cavaliers’ seventh penalty attempt to give Georgetown the title.

Romero graduated from the Philadelphia Union’s Academy in Wayne last spring after having set records in the United Soccer League as the youngest keeper ever to start (a season-opening loss to Rochester in 2017) and as the youngest keeper ever to win (August 5 of the same year vs. Ottawa).

In his last match for Bethlehem Steel, coming this past July at Louisville Slugger Field against John Hackworth’s Louisville City, Romero kept a clean sheet in the highlight game of Bethlehem’s disappointing 2019 season. He won player of the week in the USL Championship for his effort.

In his 2017-2019 USL career he appeared 17 times for Bethlehem, all but once starting, playing 1,485 minutes. Two statistics stand out from his cumulative 3-8-5 results. Both highlight marked improvement in 2019 — his only two clean sheets, and his save percentage improving from slightly above fifty percent to seventy percent in 2019.

Bethlehem head coach Brendan Burke at one point commented that Romero had made himself “more explosive” this year.

Influencing his record was the change in goalkeeping coaches in 2018 from Oka Nikolov to Tim Hanley. Nikolov returned in 2019 after the December 2018 decision to commit to Matt Freese as the first team’s developmental goalie.

Romero is an amateur “freshman” at Georgetown in the eyes of the NCAA. But his coach Brian Weise knows that he had nearly 1,500 minutes of experience as a professional playing for Bethlehem on the “zero-dollar” contract that preserved his NCAA eligibility.

It is no surprise that coach Weise started a division two player-of-the-week winner in the biggest game of Georgetown’s season.

2 Comments

  1. Any chance we decide to sign him to Homegrown? Seems like they’d have already done it if they were going to though…

  2. From his point of view, logic would suggest why sign when you are blocked?

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