How often does a high school soccer program send one goalkeeper to play at a Division I program? How often does a team send two goalies to play D1?
The Wildcats can now claim that distinction. Danny Radigan has committed to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
Radigan served as the backup goalkeeper for the Saint Ignatius varsity soccer team as both a junior and a senior. But even with limited playing time, Radigan shined when his number was called.
And now, his reward is a world-class education and an opportunity to play soccer at the Division I level.
"I love going to Saint Ignatius because it's right in the city, and Duquesne is too," Radigan said of the Pittsburgh school. "It felt like a bigger version of Ignatius. All of the guys were super nice. They're a good group of people and they made me feel welcome. The coaches are amazing."
Radigan played soccer at the JV B and JV A levels for the Wildcats in 2016 and 2017 before earning a promotion to the varsity level for the 2018 season. Radigan played behind returning starter Peter Van Euwen.
But early in the season, Van Euwen suffered an injury and Radigan needed to fill in. The Concord native performed admirably, recording a 3-0-1 record in 4 starts. Radigan played in 10 games over the course of the season, tallying 6 saves in 424 minutes.
Radigan did not start any games in 2019, but he still played quite well. Appearing in 12 games, Radigan notched 2 saves and allowed just 2 goals in 201 minutes of playing time.
It's safe to say that Radigan would have started on just about any other team in Northeast Ohio.
"That's evidenced by the fact that he's going to play at a Division I program. Other than Peter, Danny might be the only goalkeeper from Northeast Ohio who's moving on to play at the Division I level," said Mike McLaughlin '85, the Wildcats' head coach. "Everybody has their role in the program. Everybody wants to have a starting role. He had the misfortune of playing behind Peter Van Euwen, who's one of the best goalies we've ever had in our program. Danny kept growing and getting better. It's important to have a couple of really good goalkeepers."
Radigan's positive approach made him plenty of fans on the coaching staff.
The positive attitude and excellent work ethic that Danny displayed every day certainly made an impact on the team.
"I'm so excited for Danny, I'm proud of the approach he took to his role," McLaughlin said. "It wasn't always easy, but he made our team better. His teammates enjoyed being around him. He played in some critical games over the last few years. He definitely helped us do what we did."
In many ways, what Radigan did was character building.
"As far as soccer, I didn't end up getting a lot of playing time, but that was okay," the senior said. "It taught me to work hard behind the scenes and prepare myself for the future. I knew what I wanted and I went for it."
Looking at Danny Radigan as a soccer player, it's no wonder that the Dukes recruited him heavily. Beyond the intangibles, his skillset is brilliant.
Part of what makes Radigan special is his combination of physical skills with mental acuity. To play goalie, you need to be athletic, for sure. But you need to have expert vision of the field to see what's coming and adjust the defense in front of you accordingly.
"Special goalkeepers need to have physical skills and abilities with their hands and feet. They need to understand the game and make the right read in different situations," McLaughlin said. "They also have to have a presence and a sense of leadership. That's what Danny possesses. You have to be in charge of not only the goal box, but the whole field. There is a whole mental approach to being a goalkeeper that Danny grew into over the years. He became a wonderful goalkeeper with his hands, feet, understanding of the game, and of being in charge."
From even his freshman year, Radigan had his eyes on Duquesne.
But it wasn't until this summer that his dream school became a solid possibility. Radigan attended a team camp over the summer and played so well that the Dukes' staff invited him back for a camp over Christmas break. The Dukes loved his performance at the camp and his effort on tape.
"It was great. It felt like home from the beginning," Radigan said. "They offered me a spot, and luckily the money worked out."
Looking at academics, Radigan is eyeing a 3-3 law program. At Duquesne, students in this program can acquire their bachelor's degree in 3 years and then their law degree in the next 3 years. His plans could change, but that's his ambition as of now.
Radigan definitely has the smarts to succeed in the program. Currently, he owns a 3.93 GPA at Cleveland's Jesuit College Preparatory School.
"I've learned how to work hard, in the classroom and on the field," Radigan said. "Starting with the classroom, I try to challenge myself as much as I can with AP courses and everything, and I work hard to balance that with soccer."
Beyond learning the importance of hard work, Radigan has discovered the value in service.
During his four years at Saint Ignatius, Radigan became heavily involved in the Labre Ministry to the Homeless and the St. Joseph of Arimathea Pallbearer Ministry.
"I take the most pride in being a leader of the Pallbearers' Society," Radigan said. "Trying to find kids to serve at funerals and trying to do as many as they allow me, because I can't miss too much class. It's been the highlight of my Ignatius career. Labre is amazing too. The service here is awesome."
McLaughlin, also the Director of Sophomore Service at Saint Ignatius, has seen Radigan's devotion first-hand.
"So much of what we do here at Saint Ignatius is about mission and trying to get the young men to buy in to this mission. Danny really took things to heart," McLaughlin said. "He's a mission-driven young man who's been a really important part of our program."
Before he departs Saint Ignatius, Radigan wants to be sure to get in some thank you's.
"I want to thank my dad and my mom. They sacrificed a lot for me to go here and to Duquesne, with the travel and all that," Radigan said. "Also, the coaches – Mr. McLaughlin, Mr. Crew, Mr. Brennan, Doc Keefe, Doc Fior, and Mr. Rowell. I played for all of them, and they were great. They're all great people. I'll be connected with them for a long time."
Radigan is sure to succeed at Duquesne. Lots of folks at Saint Ignatius are very proud of him.
"Danny is a great kid. He's a good student, and a kid you want around," said Jim Brennan '85, the Wildcats' JV A head coach. "There's a maturity about him, but he's a fun-loving kid. He's so dependable. He's an amazing teammate. He will make an impact at Duquesne. He played the role as backup goalkeeper, which is the toughest role to play in soccer, but his attitude was first-rate. He's a competitor, and he played well when he was out there. I know he's excited about going to Duquesne. From my perspective, I'm excited because it's close so I can get out to see him play. But he will continue to be a really great teammate. He wants Duquesne not only for soccer, but for the academics. He'll be a great fit there."
"He's consistent. He showed up every day and worked hard. He got better and the team got better," McLaughlin said. "He was a real pleasure to coach. He's an incredible young man with wonderful parents. He'll do really great at Duquesne."