OHIO CITY, Oh - Saint Ignatius Soccer goalie Patrick McLaughlin will be heading to Columbus to continue his academic and soccer career at The Ohio State University. The State Champion goalie becomes the second McLaughlin to commit to a Division I program as his older brother Matthew ’20 is a member of the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame. The decision comes at the end of Patrick’s junior year, as he’ll have one more season wearing the blue and gold on the pitch.
“I had a chance to go during Ohio State’s soccer season to meet with the players and coaches,” explains Patrick. “I liked the team chemistry and the coaches having an understanding of the school schedule. I have always liked Ohio State; this is a perfect opportunity.”
The soccer program at Saint Ignatius continues to produce Division I talent as Patrick will reunite with teammate Luciano Pechota on the pitch at Ohio State. “Anytime we can move a student on to college is an exciting thing for the program and earlier, the better,” says Head Soccer Coach Mike McLaughlin ’85. “Especially special when it is a high-level academic and athletic program.”
Pechota was a senior captain for the 2021 Soccer Cats and was help for Patrick. “I texted with Luciano throughout the whole process, keeping him updated with what was going on,” says Patrick. “Luc is such a great player and excited to play with him again in the future.”
On the parent side for coach McLaughlin, he couldn’t be any more excited for his son Patrick. “My wife and I are super proud of Patrick and to know where he comes from is something you dream about as a parent,” says Mike. “From playing in the backyard to taking it to a high level and seeing it become a reality is exciting.”
“My parents were great throughout the process; with my brother going to Notre Dame, they were always open to what I wanted to do,” explains Patrick. “It was great that they allowed me to go where I wanted to go.”
Patrick is coming off a junior season which saw the program hoist its 11th State Championship after a 2-1 overtime victory over Centerville at Lower.Com. An overtime moment that the Saint Ignatius faithful will never forget was when Nolan Spicer put in the game winning goal. However, that moment was made possible by the steady goalkeeping of Patrick in the sudden death period.
“As a Saint Ignatius goalie, you get at least two saves in a season where if you save it, you’ll win and if you let it in, you’re going to lose,” explains Patrick. “Liam (Sowell) ’21 against Medina had an amazing save right when we scored. In overtime, they had the one-shot right at me, so that was my moment and a great experience.”
Patrick allowed just seven goals past him in the 2021 season and was a brick wall for the defense whenever an opposition got past the backline. “I think Patrick is unique because he is good at stopping the ball,” Mike says. “What separates the good from the special goalkeeper is what they do with their feet. I don’t think we have ever had a goalkeeper in our program that has been as good with the ball with their feet as Patrick.”
Coming into his senior year in the fall of 2022, Patrick understands that he still has to prove himself out on the pitch despite the commitment to Ohio State. “I’m working on being a leader, we are losing Luciano, Josip Rimac, Antonio Morini, Collin Folds, which are all great leaders and it wasn’t just them. It was all the seniors,” explains Patrick. “They led by example on and off the field. Next season will come down to leadership, we have a lot of returning guys, but it comes down to who will be the leaders on the field.”
“I want to see him continue to grow and develop as a leader,” explains Mike. “Someone who takes charge of his goal area and enjoys the experience of his senior season.”
The Soccer Cats, fresh off a three-peat, will be looking to add another title to the trophy case in 2022 as they’ll be in pursuit of a school-leading 12th State Championship. Patrick will be an integral part of the team’s senior before becoming a Buckeye.