Men’s Soccer Goalkeeper Steve Casey talks Purple Eagles soccer and beyond in this edition of Student-Athlete Profile.
If you’ve ever attended a Niagara University men’s soccer game, chances are you’ve seen the 6-foot-6-inch 210 pound animal that is Steve Casey in net for the Purple Eagles. Last season, Casey played in 16 games for the Purple Eagles and set career highs in goals-against average (1.31), save percentage (.744), saves (61), and shutouts (5). The team finished last season with a 4-11-2 record overall and a 3-6-1 record in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) games.
Casey’s 2017 season has started off hot. As of Oct. 12, Casey is ranked first in the MAAC in saves per game (5.67), and fifth in the MAAC for save percentage (.739). He also recorded 11 saves in their Oct. 4 matchup against Canisius, which tied a career high. Casey also posted back-to-back shutouts when he stopped 10 shots against Saint Peter’s on Oct. 7, and nine shots against Siena on Oct. 11.
Casey detailed how he prepares for each game, which has helped him start the season off with a bang.
“As a goalie I like to know a couple of things like who’s (the opponent’s) best forward, what their tendencies are like crossing …. but generally going into each game, it’s about being mentally aware and coming into the game the same way; expecting a shutout and a try to get a win.”
Despite Casey’s good start to the season, the team as a whole isn’t great. As of Oct. 12, the team is 2-8-2 overall and 1-2-1 in MAAC games. Even though the team has gotten off to a rocky start, Casey is optimistic about how his team has developed and what they can do in the future.
“I think we’ve grown a lot as a team since the beginning of the year. A lot of unfortunate things have happened, we’ll have a bad bounce happen, then the other team will have a great shot and we’ll miss a couple opportunities. I feel like we’ve been unlucky so far, but I feel like everything’s starting to come together so I’m looking forward to the future.” Casey said.
Casey, a redshirt-junior, has not only been thinking about the future with NU, but also after his time as a Purple Eagle comes to an end. He is considering pursuing a career playing soccer after his eligibility runs out.
“Yeah I’m definitely considering it … I’ve got friends that are playing professionally in Europe right now and I’ve been talking to them about the process and everything …. I’ve talked to coaches about possibly pursuing a career and they think I’m capable. It’s definitely something I’d be interested in pursuing but I’m not 100 percent sure yet.”
What most people don’t know about Casey is that he already has experience with a professional soccer club in FC Buffalo. FC Buffalo is the top professional soccer club of Buffalo. They play in the East Conference of the Midwest Region as a part of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL).
Casey, a fellow Williamsville South graduate, spoke very highly of his experiences with FC Buffalo.
“FC Buffalo is great, I love all the guys. It’s a super high level because we get the top three or four guys from some of the top colleges around. I really like to play for FC Buffalo to better prepare me for NU. The NPSL is a great league.”
But for now, Casey is focused on achieving the team goal this season: make the MAAC playoffs.
“Our expectation is to make the MAAC playoffs. We’re only two games in, unfortunately we’re off to a rough start but it’s still very possible. I think we’re all on board and believe that we can do it together,” Casey said.