North player found a new home with Cahillites

Former Fal­con Boomer Steigel­man fit in just fine at Ro­man, help­ing to lead the team's play­off run this year.

Ro­man Cath­ol­ic seni­or mid­field­er Nor­man “Boomer” Steigel­man and Fath­er Judge’s Matt Matwiejczyk battle dur­ing a play­off game at North­east High School on Monday, Oc­to­ber 31. Kev­in Cook/for the Times

Nor­man Steigel­man was dev­ast­ated when his be­loved North Cath­ol­ic High School was closed in June 2010 due to budget­ary woes. 

But from his mis­for­tune arose a new op­por­tun­ity. 

Steigel­man, known to most as “Boomer,” trans­ferred to Ro­man Cath­ol­ic High School, and for the past two sea­sons has teamed up with the Cahil­lites varsity soc­cer squad. 

“It was def­in­itely tough at first,” said Steigel­man, a Fishtown nat­ive. “I had to meet a lot of new play­ers from dif­fer­ent neigh­bor­hoods, but go­ing to Ro­man was good. I met a lot of new friends. 

“We’ve been do­ing good things on the soc­cer field,” he ad­ded. “We beat bet­ter teams. We are all more of a fam­ily this year, which helps a lot.”

Ro­man Cath­ol­ic has gone 8-6-3 over­all this sea­son. All eight re­cor­ded wins were shutouts. 

The Cahil­lites ous­ted Con­well-Egan, 1-0, in the Cath­ol­ic League quarterfi­nals on Oct. 25, earn­ing the right to face power­house Fath­er Judge in the semi­finals. 

The game was ori­gin­ally slated for Sat­urday af­ter­noon, but the heavy rains and snow post­poned the out­ing twice. It was even­tu­ally played on Hal­loween night. Un­for­tu­nately for the Cahil­lites, that is where their post­season run con­cluded. Fath­er Judge won, 3-0. 

Al­though their hopes of cham­pi­on­ship glory were dashed early, ac­cord­ing to Steigel­man, the Cahil­lites achieved massive im­prove­ments this sea­son. 

“Last year, when we first came to Ro­man, we wer­en’t really to­geth­er,” he ex­plained. “We were go­ing at each oth­er. We all wanted to take each oth­er’s po­s­i­tions. 

“Now this year, we’re all one school, one team,” he ad­ded. “Both of our coaches were amaz­ing this year. We did a lot of train­ing and workouts to­geth­er. We be­came more of a team. Every­one on our team is equal.”

In ad­di­tion to ob­tain­ing new stu­dent ath­letes, long­time North Cath­ol­ic coach Jerry Brind­isi also mi­grated to Ro­man’s soc­cer field, bring­ing with him four Cath­ol­ic League cham­pi­on­ships and one city title dur­ing his time with the Fal­cons. 

“I’m really en­joy­ing this. The kids are great,” said Brind­isi. “They come to work every­day.

“Boomer has been a great lead­er. He’s a sur­viv­or,” ad­ded Brind­isi. “He’s a fant­ast­ic kid and the heart and soul of this team.” 

Steigel­man worked as a team cap­tain for this year’s varsity squad along­side fel­low seni­ors Mark Cas­as­anto and Alex Hartzag. But the trio’s his­tory spans far bey­ond Ro­man Cath­ol­ic. Long be­fore they were team­mates, they were rivals. Steigel­man and Hartzag played for the Fishtown AC, while Cas­as­anto com­peted for the South Phil­adelphia Strikers. 

“We know each oth­er from the neigh­bor­hood,” said Steigel­man. “Mark is one of the best cap­tains I’ve ever played with and Alex, I’ve played soc­cer with him my whole life.” 

Al­though Steigel­man only spent two years with the Ro­man Cath­ol­ic squad, he’s been com­pet­ing on the soc­cer field for more than a dec­ade. He teamed up with vari­ous travel squads throughout Fishtown and plans to con­tin­ue his soc­cer ca­reer at the col­legi­ate level next year. 

“I have a couple schools that I’m think­ing about,” said Steigel­man, who turned 18 on Sunday. “I want to con­tin­ue to play soc­cer and study busi­ness man­age­ment. 

“I like work­ing and mak­ing money,” said Steigel­man, adding that he’s worked at the Mem­ph­is Mar­ket in Fishtown for the past six years. “My boss has taught me a lot of things. I’d like to learn more about busi­ness.”

Steigel­man has earned de­cent grades in the classroom and said his trans­ition aca­dem­ic­ally from North to Ro­man was a re­l­at­ively easy one. 

“At Ro­man, you have more work. It’s a little bit harder,” he said. “I’m an or­gan­ized kid, so I get all my work done. I like all my classes and the teach­ers are great.

“Ro­man was a good choice for me,” he con­tin­ued. “We have a great soc­cer team when we all play to­geth­er. It’s fun be­cause we’re all neigh­bor­hood kids who love to com­pete.” ••

Ed­it­or Melissa Yerkov can be reached at my­

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