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Tampa Prep knew it found right guy for keeper's job

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Wed. February 17, 2010 | Joey Knight | Email

TAMPA — Had its roster been any more stacked, it would’ve screamed for syrup and butter. The scorers, staunch defenders and ball distributors were all in place for Tampa Prep. The Terrapins just needed a goalkeeper.

And keepers coach Dominick Giombetti had an idea where to find one. In essence, he was hoping goalies grew on family trees. The shaggy-haired kid in his English class had basketball in his heart, but soccer in his DNA. Giombetti asked him if he wanted to give it a try.

Brad Goldsberry, who hadn’t played an organized match in roughly 31/2 years, obliged.

"He’s got great hands," Giombetti said. "I used to watch him on the basketball court and he always was working and moving and moving and moving. … I knew he’d be good."

True to Giombetti’s projections, the new goalie was, well, a keeper. Today, Goldsberry, the fourth brother in his family to play for the Terrapins, starts in the net when his team crosses Cass Street to face Tallahassee Maclay in the Class 2A semifinals at the University of Tampa.

Should the Terrapins win today and again Friday night, Brad would become the third member of his family to win a state championship, joining Robby (2005) and Drew (’08).

"From Day One, he just had good hands and instincts," Terrapins coach Doug Smith said. "Again, it just seems like something in the blood."

To be sure, Brad’s not the best keeper of David Goldsberry and Caryn Bray’s four boys. That distinction belongs to Robby, who moved from sweeper to keeper in the penalty kick round of the 2005 state title game and deflected two Miami Florida Christian attempts to preserve a 1-0 (PK, 6-5) victory.

Nor is he the most athletic. J.P., the oldest, was a baseball and soccer standout at Tampa Prep in the early part of the previous decade, and later pitched at Furman. If Brad leads the family in anything it might be unflappability and modesty.

"My defense in front of me is pretty good," said Brad, a 16-year-old junior who has 10 shutouts this season. "I don’t do very much at all."

Nonsense, Smith suggests. In Saturday’s 1-0 (PK, 4-2) victory at Vero Beach St. Edward’s in the region final, Brad deflected two shots in the penalty kick round to help seal his sixth shutout in the past seven matches. Smith called the second block "unbelievable."

"The ball looked like it was going to be buried in the side netting, and he looked like he had turbo under his legs," Smith recalled. "He jumped, got his fingertips on it and pushed it just to the side. … I mean, the ball was placed so well into the corner that it looked like it was going wide and he still got to it."

But to renowned bay area keepers coach Kevin Keelan, that particular leap still pales in comparison to the quantum one Brad has made since coming out for the team. Before then, Brad’s last action in net had been with the New Tampa Comets, for whom his mom served as president. He guesses he was 12 or 13 then.

In the interim, he had played golf, JV basketball and JV baseball for the Terrapins.

"Doug introduced me to him and we trained up at Temple Terrace on a Sunday and I went, ‘This is not gonna be pretty,’ " recalled Keelan, who played 673 professional matches for English club Norwich City and spent one season with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. " ‘I tell you what, I’ve got to be a magician here. I’ve got to really pull one out of the hat here.’

"What’s happened is, the more he’s done he’s responded to it, and his appetite’s grown. And I think that comes along with a little bit of success, too. If you suddenly find you’re reaping the rewards of something that you’re putting time into, you’ll be like, ‘Hey this is not bad, I’m enjoying it.’ "

Today, the coaches gush over Brad’s physical upside (5-foot-11, 185 pounds), blossoming skills and work ethic. Is he the sole reason Tampa Prep is to this point? Hardly. The Terps have firepower (see Wes Sever’s 31 goals), a field general (see Anthony Baumann’s 31 assists) and fleetness in abundance. Brad is by no means the catalyst.

Just the final cog.

"There were some other guys (vying for the keeper job) and Brad just really stepped up," Smith said. "He’s got decent size and great hands. His distributions were pretty solid, so he just seemed like a natural fit. And the guys have confidence in him back there, and certainly after Saturday the guys feel comfortable."

 

Tampa Prep (17-4-2) vs. Tallahassee Maclay (21-2-1)

Where/when: Pepin Stadium, University of Tampa, 12:45 p.m.

At stake: Winner faces Delray Beach American Heritage-Maitland Orangewood Christian winner in Friday’s 7:30 p.m. final

Admission: $8

About Maclay: A three-time state champ, Maclay reached the 2A final last season, falling to American Heritage. … Three players — midfielders Lincoln Lewis and Adam McCabe and forward Germaine Littles — have at least 20 goals, with Lewis’ 30 leading the team. McCabe and Lewis also have teamed for 43 assists … Both Marauders keepers, Taylor Miller and Tyler Bradford, have played extensively this season. … Veteran Maclay coach Andrew Warner has more than 250 career victories.

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