Tom Henske Leads Staples’ “Goalkeeper University”

The recent success of Staples’ goalkeepers – 3-year starter James Hickok has already committed to Dartmouth; state champion winner Michael McCarthy is playing at Washington University, and Adam Liu at Middlebury College — is no surprise.

The Wreckers are among a very few high school programs in the country with a dedicated goalkeeper coach. Paul Melitsanopoulos was the first person in that role. For the past 4 years Staples has benefited enormously from the vast experience, enormous wisdom and great energy of Tom Henske.

Tom Henske has brought unparalleled experience to Staples’ “Goalkeeper University.”

The 3-time national champion at the University of Virginia – where he succeeded Tony Meola – brings tremendous passion and pride to Wrecker keepers.

Now – in recognition of the great goalkeeping tradition begun in 1958 by Albie Loeffler (himself a former University of Connecticut keeper) with George Scott, and continuing for over 5 decades with legends like Shane Kennedy, Bob Simonton, Alex Deegan, Zack Randel, Wes Martino and Dave Sharpe (to name only a very few) — Staples can legitimately call itself “Goalkeeper University.”

Tom gives keepers a college-level education in every aspect of the game. He trains them mentally and psychologically, as well as physically. He takes copious notes during practices and matches, and breaks down each session with the keepers. He shares video with them. He designs off-season workouts. He works on communication – even public speaking skills.

“I don’t think there’s a keeper coach in the country who compares with Tom,” says head coach Dan Woog. “And that includes the absolute highest levels of the game. If a keeper commits to Tom, he will help that young man not only reach his potential, but go far beyond anything he ever thought possible. It’s a long process – but Tom is committed to the long run. He has given our entire program a valuable gift, and we are far better for it.”

One of Tom’s newest initiatives is “Staples Keeper Nation.” Through periodic emails, he’ll share Staples keeper news, videos and behind-the-scenes insights with former Staples goalies. If you’re a keeper and would like to be on his list, contact Tom directly: 3times@optonline.net.

Tom Henske and James Hickok, before the 2010 state championship finals. Over 4 years, Tom has developed a great relationship with the current co-captain — one of many members of Staples’ “Goalkeeper University.”

13 responses to “Tom Henske Leads Staples’ “Goalkeeper University”

  1. Tom Henske brings a wealth of playing experience that makes him a tremendous mentor for young goalkeepers. His energy and enthusiasm are second to none!

  2. I have been a college basketball coach for 14 years but my true passion is watching soccer. I went to high school with Tom and developed a love for the sport (soccer) from watching him compete and lead his team. I tell people all the time that I was blessed to have watched the growth and achievements of one of the best soccer players in the nation while I was growing up.

    Tom went on to play at a national soccer powerhouse (University of Virginia) where he excelled on the field and in the classroom. He is the perfect person to mentor high school athletes through the transition from high school into university life.

    He’s an amazing person and his heart lies in the community.

  3. I have known Tom Henske for almost 25 years when I first saw a confident classmate lead the Northport High School Soccer team from the goal. His leadership on the soccer field was only surpassed by his leadership in the classroom, school and community. It’s amazing how a fun-loving, honest, caring and passionate high school student can become so focused & determined during practices & games.

    Having followed his collegiate career from a far (there was no Youtube back then and email / the internet was in its infancy in the early 90s) and then being able to reconnect with Tom at reunions and lunches over the years has been terrific. It’s no surprise to see an old friend who has grown into a business leader, coach and his most fulfilling roles– husband and proud parent. Tom is a person who high school students can learn from not just how to be a successful goalie, but how to achieve success in life. The kids of Staples are very fortunate to have Tom with them as he is a winner both on the field and off!

  4. Michael O'Connor

    I had the honor of playing with Tom in high school his freshman and sophomore year. I watched him become a great player and leader. I have been leading a mens group here in Florida called Men of Honor, Tom is a man of honor! In all aspects of his life he walks with respect of others, a genuine love and care of all. Follow him, watch him, learn from him, and you will be successful. His passion for success and passion for soccer is second to none. After all these years, Tom makes time for our friendship. He sets a date to get together when travels to Florida, and I look forward to it each year. It was a great privilege to play soccer with him and a bigger honor to call him a friend.

  5. I had the pleasure of being coached by Tom for two years at Staples and I can honestly say that I haven’t met a nicer, more dedicated person in my life. If you show the desire to improve, Tom will bend over backwards to help you in any way possible. I strongly encourage all younger players to take advantage of Tom’s experience while you can.

  6. Tom is amazing! What a mentor! How lucky these kids are to have him!

  7. Maureen baker, R.N

    I am Tom Henske’s cousin and what makes him awesome is that he is real. We would work out hard at New york sports club , then the next weekend be dancing on tables at Finnegans wake. Work hard, play hard, find balance. I love this man,and admire him to this day.
    Mo

  8. Richard Lawrence Stein

    I too, have worked with Tom, and know first hand his teaching ,coaching, life, and method of bettering anyone in their field. It truly is a gift. Please All Staples Soccer players take the time to pick Tom’s brain!!! You will only be better for it.

  9. It was a honor to follow Tom’s footsteps and legacy at UVA as a young goalkeeper trying to fill big shoes. It helped elevate my game and so many others that followed. It’s great to see him continuing this tradition by helping the next generation of great GK”s with hands on coaching. Wahoowa!

  10. Can’t even begin to explain how Tom has changed my son’s life. Dedicated, professional, talented, smart, fun, tough, caring. A true treasure.

  11. Great article. The coaching staff at Staples is fantastic and I hope Tom stays involved in Staples soccer forever. Tom’s insights not only help goalkeepers but field players as well. All Staples soccer players are fortunate to be able to work with Tom and the coaching staff; those benefits will be apparent on the field but stretch well beyond soccer as well.

  12. I was thrilled to read this article. I’ve have said for years that the only (best) way for our country to advance in the sport of soccer is to have our past players train our youth. I was there when Tom was recruited and decided to go to UVa and can remember talking to him and his passion for the game. I can only hope that his players truly understand what an opportunity they have to learn about the position and what it takes to make it to the next level. These kids are lucky! Good Luck Tom and keep up the great work my friend!!!!
    (BTW, I LOVE the choice of gloves and jersey in your playing photo above)

  13. In just one season Tom made a huge impact on my game as a goalkeeper. He was instrumental to my success on the field and to the team’s state championship title. But Tom is much more than just a soccer coach, he’s a mentor to me. 3 years after graduating from Staples I can still count on the occasional e-mail from him asking how I’m doing and how he can help. He’s been an incredible addition to an already star studded coaching staff, and I’m so lucky to have played for him.

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