Blast standout Pat Healey retires after eight seasons
Defender leaving to teach at Perry Hall Christian
The final goal, scored by teammate Tony Donatelli to give the Blast the 2015-16 Major Arena Soccer League championship in April, is safely secure in Pat Healey’s mind.
Every detail that went with it — his brief talk as team captain with the Blast going into overtime on the power play, Donatelli’s strike and everybody’s reaction afterward — is included.
The 14-13 win over Soles de Sonora in Mexico, which produced Baltimore’s eighth professional indoor soccer championship, turned out to be a fitting ending to a standout career for Healey, who announced his retirement Thursday after eight seasons with the hometown team he grew up cheering for.
“It was a childhood dream to not only play professional soccer and do what you love to do, but in your own town in front of people that you grew up with and also watched play,” he said. “Before I came, they were winning and I wanted to continue doing that. All I wanted to do is to help the team keep getting there. That’s what I’m most proud of — I played eight years and we were in the championship seven times.”
Healey, 30, stepped down after accepting a teaching job at Perry Hall Christian School, where he also will help coach the boys and girls soccer programs. The Bel Air native, who played at Calvert Hall and Towson University, leaves the game on top after being named MASL Defender of the Year for a second straight season. He started with the Blast in the now-defunct National Indoor Soccer League in the 2008-09 season and was named its Rookie of the Year, helping the team win the first of three championships during his career.
“Pat epitomized everything of what the Baltimore Blast is all about both on the field and off the field,” Blast coach Danny Kelly said. “He was a tremendous leader on the field and off, and he had a tremendous soccer IQ.
“His career was a tremendous one here in Baltimore, and I’m thrilled he was able to end it with a championship in Mexico and him being so instrumental in winning that championship through the regular season and playoffs. These types of players don’t come around very often.”
Throughout his playing days — starting From left, Blast players Pat Healey, Mike Deasel and Jonatas Melo celebrate a win against the Lancers. at the youth club level with the Baltimore Bays — Healey never missed a game. He was a four-year varsity player at Calvert Hall and Towson, and played in 198 consecutive regular-season and playoff games for the Blast.
He took pride in his preparation, and his love and understanding of the game emerged as a youngster when his father, Kevin, the Blast’s president and general manager, would take him to watch the then-Baltimore Spirit. Instead of sitting in the lower level closer to the action, Pat Healey liked to sit higher so he could see the plays develop.
“The time and energy he put into understanding the game and understanding our opponent and translating that into not only his good performances but the team’s performance was unprecedented,” Kevin Healey said. “Off the field, he was our leader, too. He was out in the community at all times, he understood the business and he understands what a player’s role is.”
As a father, Kevin Healey couldn’t be prouder with his son capping a fine career. As a general manager, he loses a player difficult to replace. In addition to being the team’s vocal leader and smartest player, Pat Healey ran the power play, was a key component on man-down situations and was the team’s sixth attacker.
“He’s definitely the player who can’t be replaced because he knows the game better than everybody else in the league, so that’s definitely a tough loss for us,” Blast goalkeeper and fellow captain William Vanzela said. “I feel like we’re losing a great leader. He’s a guy that makes a lot of good plays on the field, doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and not having him is definitely going to hurt us.”