Nazareth goalkeeper David Caldwell has an allegiance to the soccer program that goes beyond his four years with the team.
He’s taking it upon himself to help groom sophomore Aidan Bresnahan as his replacement when Caldwell is gone.
“Having Aidan on the team is great,” Caldwell said. “Having a kid that trains on my level and has almost the exact same skills and abilities is nice. Knowing the future [of the position] is going to be good when I leave means a lot. Of course I want to help him out. I want the program to keep getting better. He’s going to take over next year and I think he’s going to do a great job.”
Caldwell knows the feeling of playing behind a veteran. He split time in goal with graduated Mike Zebrowski last season, but Caldwell emerged as the starter for the postseason.
The Roadrunners went on to make history, winning the program’s first sectional championship before falling to eventual Class 2A state champion Washington in overtime in the supersectional.
“It was the greatest feeling ever,” Caldwell said of being named the starter. “To start for a great school like Nazareth and then winning games in the playoffs was unbelievable. Playing in the playoffs gave me so much experience and my confidence carried over into this season. I feel like I have the experience to be a leader for the rest of my teammates now. Being the starter means to much.”
While Caldwell, of Stickney, gets the nod as starting goalkeeper for the Roadrunners (7-5-2, 2-2-1 East Suburban Catholic), Bresnahan has received plenty of playing time. They have combined on six shutouts.
Caldwell started playing soccer at age 8 and has been a goalkeeper almost his entire career. His Berwyn Blazers club team needed a goalie, so he volunteered and has manned the position ever since.
“I love the idea of leading from the back,” Caldwell said. “I feel like the focal point of the defense and the leader throughout the game. I try to help my defense as much as I can. I think the skills I possess the most as a keeper is my reaction time and leadership.”
Bresnahan, of LaGrange Park, also volunteered to be a goalkeeper at a young age with his club team, Chicago Black, and appreciates having Caldwell show him the ropes.
“[Caldwell] is a very good leader and shows me new things all the time,” Bresnahan said. “I’ve learned a lot from him. He plays hard and has a lot of skill. He’s very friendly and easy to approach in school. It’s really helpful to know he has your back on the field and in school.”
Nazareth coach Doug Hunt said Caldwell has abilities worth sharing.
“He shows Aidan where the bar is set and that it takes more than just talent,” Hunt said. “Aidan is more athletic than David but David has a better understanding and knowledge of the game. David also is giving Aidan a chance to grow into the position rather than have to learn under fire; be an apprentice.
“David it talented but what separates him is his work ethic. My goalie coach, Brian Korinek, puts David and Aidan through the ringer every day and David just keeps coming back for more. This commitment and dedication is what makes David so good.”