Daniel Palladino of the St. Thomas More Knights senior boys’ soccer team keeps getting asked the same question by everyone he knows.
“It’s ‘how did you do it? How did you do it,’” he says.
That’s been the reaction at school and elsewhere to the goal he scored last Thursday (April 18) during a 2-1 Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association victory over the visiting Academie Catholique Mere Terese Jaguars. Palladino, you see, is the Knights’ goalkeeper.
“It was kind of shocking,” Palladino said. “Nobody expects a goalie to score in soccer.”
In about the 15th minute of the season-opening contest, Palladino booted the ball from the top of the 18-yard box. It was a windy day and the ball soared before bouncing a couple of times when it came down.
“I got a good piece of it,” Palladino recalled. “I saw it in the air, turned around and didn’t think anything of it. When I turned back around, the goalie was chasing it behind him. Before you knew it, it was in the back of the net.”
Equally surprised was More’s coach Dino Perri, a former goalkeeper for 16 years with Hamilton Steelers and St. Catharines Roma of the Canadian Professional Soccer League. He played that position so well for the Brock University Badgers that he was inducted into the Brock Athletics Hall of Fame last year. Perri has also coached St. Catharines Roma and for the past five seasons has been the head coach of the McMaster University Marauders (two-time defending OUA champions).
“For me, as a coach, I thought it was a lucky break,” Perri said of Palladino’s goal. “I felt bad for their goalkeeper and good for our goalkeeper at the same time.
“That’s something I’ve never done in my entire lifetime. I’ve always had it in the back of my mind hoping to, though.”
In the English Premier League, a goalkeeper has scored only four times. One of which occurred in 2012 — American Tim Howard for Everton against Bolton.
Palladino didn’t score on Tuesday (April 23) but did the next best thing. He made a handful of key saves to earn a shutout in More’s 2-0 victory over the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves at Heritage Green.
Left winger Andrew Raco fired both goals in the second half for the defending champion Knights. On the first, he controlled the ball off of his chest before booting a perfect low shot from an angle 12 yards out that found the far corner of the net.
A Lucas Raposo crossing pass three minutes later set up Raco for another low shot just inside the same goal post. Said Perri: “He (Raco) did well on both. He had the opportunity to score and he finished. He deserves it. He’s a hard-working kid.”
Coach Steve Kisic’s Braves won their opener 7-2 over Cathedral but faded after a solid first half against More.
“Basically,” Kisic said, “they controlled the play and outhustled us the whole second half. I think we’ll get better.”
The Knights are vying for their fourth city championship in five years. They’ve already won two tournaments at McMaster this season and advanced to the final at another tourney in Oakville.
“It’s been very positive,” Palladino said. “I think if we keep working together as a team and stick to our systems, we’ll do well this year.”