Galeski an imposing Bear
THOMASTON - He’s a keeper.
At 6-foot-4, 280 pounds or so, give or take a pizza or two, the hulking presence of Shawn Galeski would seem more at home pancaking opponents under the Friday Night Lights on the gridiron instead of patrolling the pitch under the fall sky on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.
Instead, however, Galeski’s impressive proportions can be found between the goal posts for the Thomaston High soccer team. He is a hard guy to miss. But his talent is getting even harder to miss than his size.
I caught up with Galeski on Sept. 27 in a 2-0 victory over a good Housatonic team and he raised more than a few eyebrows. The Mountaineers peppered frequent shots at the goal and found no space to get the ball past the formidable form.
Now Galeski is not your normal size for a goalie. Some are tall but many drift to the lean side. Do not be deceived however. Galeski has a reservoir of quickness. He turned aside a Housatonic penalty kick in the first half with great anticipation and a riveting diving save to his low left side near the post.
There is also a vertical leap of 27 inches and late in the second half there was a leaping save on top near the cross bar. The Mountaineers tried high, low, left and right and remained strangers to the back of the net. He stood tall and stopped shots, he ranged out from the goal and ruined opportunities. Galeski came up with 15 saves on the day.
“Shawn was the reason we won,” said Bears coach Martin Giroux. “He shut down Housatonic repeatedly in the first and second half. People do not want to go near his goal.”
Both the Mountaineers and officials saw what Giroux saw. As the Housatonic players were moving through the post-game shake hands line, one Housy player reminded his teammate who was talking about another aspect of the result about how good Thomaston’s goalie was.
One official remarked to me,” He’s a wall. I was the trail official and as you are looking at the goal there is just no space there when he has his arms extended.
This was hardly a one-game wonder for Galeski, but no surprise if he is not on your radar. Thomaston has become a very competitive entity during Giroux’s long tenure at the helm, becoming a regular in the post-regular season state tournament. But not exactly a Berkshire League title contender.
In league where the consistent power brokers have been the now departed Lewis Mills, Litchfield, Nonnewaug and Northwestern Regional, the Bears are not a program that gets a lot of attention.
The previous two seasons attention directed towards the Bears was usually focused on two-time All-Stater and the program’s all-time single-season and career scoring leader, Mergim Kutllovci who is now doing his thing for St. Joseph University in West Hartford.
“People don’t really know him,” said Giroux.
For those who saw beyond the fleet-footed goal-scorer, however, a bigger than average goalie with quick feet and a booming foot was not easy to miss.
The Bears are 3-1 at this writing (the lone loss to perennial power Nonnewaug) a surprise to some due to their youth and the loss of Kutllovci. Whatever happens as the season progresses one thing is for sure, the imposing wall in front of the goal will have to be dealt with.
Opponents take notice (and maybe a college coach or two), Thomaston has a keeper.