On the job training
We hear a lot about how peer pressure can be a bad thing. In some cases though, it can be a very good thing. Such is the case with Northwestern Tigers goalkeeper Zach Rosamalia.
The senior who was a standout player on Northwestern’s boys lacrosse team last spring, had never played soccer, nor did he have an interest in playing. His buddies kept pushing him to come out for the team. His friends realized that the team needed a goalie and they knew how athletic Rosamalia was and thought he could fill a hole for the Tigers.
Rosamalia came out to practices with the team before last season and found himself not only making the team, but sharing time in goal at the varsity level as a junior.
“He has done a phenomenal job coming from never having played soccer before to having been thrown into a varsity starting position last year,” said Northwestern head coach Nate Hunsicker. “The growth that he showed last season was tremendous and by the end of the season he had really come into his own.”
This season, the goalkeeper job has been all Rosamalia’s. He has made the most of the opportunity, enjoying the fact that he knows every game he is going to be between the pipes for Northwestern.
“It gives me experience,” said Rosamalia of playing every day. “And since I don’t have much, that’s been important. Every game that I get to play I learn something new and, hopefully, I improve on what I can do and what I can’t do.”
Opponents have scored just 10 goals against Rosamalia this season and he has delivered 11 shutouts through the regular season, including a stretch of six straight at one point.
“In my opinion, if he’s not the best keeper in the Colonial League, he’s one of the best,” said Hunsicker. “I’d even throw him into the mix of the best in the Lehigh Valley. He’s just a mix of pure athleticism and pure talent and he can make tough plays look easy. It was just learning the idiosyncrasies of the game as far as when he should come out, when he should stay. He’s been a huge asset for us.”
Rosamalia will be a key component for Northwestern in the postseason. The team has hopes of not only winning the Colonial League championship, but winning districts to return to states where they played in both the 2016 and 2017 PIAA finals before failing to reach states last season when they lost in the District 11 finals to Saucon Valley.
So why hadn’t Rosamalia ever considered soccer prior to his junior year in high school? He has shown himself to be very athletic and simply by watching him you wouldn’t know that he has only been playing for a couple of seasons.
“I never really had interest in playing soccer, it just wasn’t something that I wanted to do,” admitted Rosamalia. “A couple of my buddies convinced me to see if I could play goalie because they knew they needed one and that I was pretty athletic, so I tried it. And now, all I know is that I have to keep the ball out of the net. That’s all I do.
“It became a pretty big thing, so I guess that I’m doing pretty good.”