Patrick Hannigan’s unconventional arrival at Temple has been a blessing to an inexperienced Owls soccer team.
As a student at Frankford High School, Hannigan was a three-year starter and honor roll student.
Still, he spurned the chance to earn his high school degree. He eventually managed to graduate the following summer.
“After soccer season I just kind of gave up on school and went, like, once a week,” said the junior goalkeeper.
“So a lot of scholarship offers and schools I got accepted to got taken off the plate.”
Yet, despite barely graduating high school, Hannigan has found his niche here on North Broad Street, patrolling between the pipes in goal.
He’s a big reason why the team remains competitive.
At 6 feet, 2 inches, Hannigan has minded the net for 706 minutes out of a possible 720.
A 133-80 disparity of shots on goal doesn’t make things any easier, but he enjoys the action.
“When you look at the real good teams, their goalies barely ever get shot on,” said Hannigan.
“I think it’s better for me…because I have to be prepared to see all kinds of angles, and it’s making me a better player.”
At 3-6 overall, half of Temple’s losses were 1-0 games in which the offensive attack failed to give Hannigan any offensive support.
So with his work cut out for him, Hannigan perseveres with a young team that has seven freshmen starters, with only three juniors and a lone senior on the roster.
Hannigan’s success has been a long time coming.
His decision to skip classes in high school forced him to watch and wait once he got to Temple.
The following fall after high school, Hannigan applied to Temple and earned himself a scholarship on the soccer team.
However, his senior year mishap would cost him that scholarship, and he became a Proposition 48 casualty.
NCAA guidelines require a student-athlete to maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) and SAT score in high school to be eligible to play as a college freshman.
Unable to fulfill these academic requirements, Hannigan had to forfeit a year of eligibility until his grades met these standards.
He was forced to get his grades up while paying for his own tuition.
By the next year he boosted his GPA to 3.2 and earned back his scholarship.
Now he is enjoying the structure that school and playing give him. Now he’s a linchpin to a program on the rise.
“I just come to play with the same attitude every day, work on my faults and weaknesses,” Hannigan said.
Being the goalkeeper, Hannigan does more than just prevent goals from hitting the back of the net.
The onus is on him to call the defensive signals and alignments to ensure no players are out of position.
And if someone is not where they’re supposed to be, Hannigan has no qualms with correcting them.
Assistant coach Dave Simpson said Hannigan’s constant communication is key to the team’s success and adds that he’s a commanding leader on the field.
“He plays as big as he is, and talks as big as he is,” Simpson said.
“You try not to be too abusive,” Hannigan said.
“I just have to yell at them to tell them where they’re supposed to be. It’s the coach’s job to criticize them and my job’s to reinforce what they’re doing right.”
When shots are fired, Hannigan lets his athleticism and instincts take over, but says the most critical aspect of playing goal is mental toughness.
“If you give up a goal you can’t think about it the rest of the game,” Hannigan said.
“And there are so many goals that I’ve seen that were preventable that really good goalies have given up because they’ve made a mistake.”
Coming off last year’s team with only seven returning players, Hannigan understands this year’s squad, with 11 freshman and seven sophomores, is going to go through its growing pains
That’s why the inauspicious start and lack of goal production doesn’t seem to have him fazed.
He is sanguine about the situation here and trusts the guidance of his coaches. Playing behind such a young team trying to jell requires Hannigan to be very patient and consistent.
“I know he’s got the ability to make big saves, and I’m expecting him to make big saves,” Simpson said.
Jason Haslam can be reached at Jasonhaslam@yahoo.com