Pat Healey, a midfielder from Crystal Palace Baltimore, was selected as the Player of the Round for the First Round of this year’s Lamar Hunt US Open Cup by the editorial staff of TheCup.us.
His two goals led the USL Second Division club to a 2-1 victory over the PDL’s Los Angeles Legends. A 2008 draft pick of Major League Soccer’s Kansas City Wizards, Healey returned to Baltimore to finish his degree at Towson University and chose to play for his hometown side.
Recently, we caught up with Pat to discuss the First Round match, Palace’s upcoming Second Round matchup with the Harrisburg City Islanders (USL-2) and his career to date.
TheCup.us: What was the team’s initial reaction when it found out that they would be heading to Los Angeles to play in the First Round, one of only two teams of the 32 to be subject to a cross-country trip?
Healey: We knew it would be difficult going across the country to play the Legends, but it was just how the draw worked out. The draw is what it is, so we were fine with it. It was difficult to travel 3000 miles during the week when you had two games the previous weekend and a game at home the weekend after the Open Cup game. We were very happy to go to L.A. and get a very good win against a very good PDL team.
TheCup.us: Talk about playing for your hometown team and being raised in a soccer environment from an early age. Was there interest from USL-1 sides, MLS or abroad following your career at Towson?
Healey: It is great to play where you grew up. Growing up, I watched a lot of professional teams play in the area and to part of Baltimore professional soccer is great. I was very excited to sign with Crystal Palace. I have always wanted to play professional soccer and this made my dream come true.
I was drafted by the Kansas City Wizards in the fifth round of this year’s draft. I went to their pre-season camp trying to make the squad, but it didn’t work out that way. When I got released, I went home to Baltimore. When I came back, I decided to finish my last year of college. A few days later, I began talking to Crystal Palace and signed in a day or two. It was the perfect fit for me and I couldn’t be happier. It is great to be the hometown boy signing with the hometown team.
TheCup.us: Preview a bit your club’s Second Round match against Harrisburg, a fellow USL-2 opponent that Palace lost to just two weeks ago at home. Does their pedigree in the Open Cup give them an advantage?
Healey: Harrisburg is a very good team. We played them on June 8th and lost 1-0. It was a very hard fought game on a very hot day. We came up on the wrong side of the stick in that game. We learned a lot about Harrisburg and ourselves after that game. It will be a good match in Harrisburg, and I hope we can go on the road again and get a good win.
TheCup.us: Who are some of your soccer role models? Who do you model your game after most?
Healey: My soccer role model is my father (former Baltimore Bays/Blast coach Kevin Healey). He is a very good coach who has coached from professional soccer to youth soccer. He has been successful at every level. From an early age, he has taught me everything. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for him. I can sit and talk to him about soccer for hours and it only feels like a short time. I could not have had a better role model.
I try to model my game after Paul Scholes. The guy is a world-class player. He isn’t the fastest guy or have the most step-over moves, but he gets the job done. He cares about the team success above everything and that is the most important. He is a winner!
TheCup.us: I see you are majoring in Sport Management at Towson. Any ambitions for a post-playing career in soccer?
Healey: I am finishing my degree this summer. For my post-playing career, I am interested in a lot of things. I have thought about it, but playing professional soccer is the most important right now. I have been putting hard work in for many years to get to this point, so I am going to put my best foot forward with soccer at this time.