La Salle High goalie ready to continue career in college

Senior Brett Werner is having the time of his life playing soccer, and will continue playing at La Salle University.

Brett Werner, a senior at La Salle, was the Catholic League MVP in the fall. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Brett Werner loves basketball. And right now, he’s having the time of his life playing.

Werner, a senior at La Salle High School, played on the Explorers squad during his first two years at the school, but now he’s using his 6-foot-5 frame to help St. Anselm’s CYO squad.

“I play small forward and power forward,” Werner said. “I like it, it’s just a bunch of us going out and having fun. It’s awesome, we’re just going out to have fun and play with the guys I’ve been playing with my whole life.”

Werner is good at basketball, but he’s great at soccer, and while he’s doing a fine job representing St. Anselm’s, he recently wrapped up a fantastic soccer career that was capped off by winning two straight Catholic League championships and in the process bringing home the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

It was the perfect ending to a career that started midway through his freshman year.

“It’s definitely pretty cool to have the MVP trophy in my room, but winning games as a team was definitely bigger,” said Werner, who notched 34 shutouts during his career, which was 58 percent of his starts. “ I knew winning the MVP would be tough because my teammate, Jacob Mittman, is very good. I knew winning it would be hard. But winning championships meant the world. It means a lot because the league is strong.

“I knew coming into the year that we had a chance to have a great year, and I knew I could have a good one. I think my great defense was a huge part of it. La Salle has always had a great defense. It started when (Bob) Peffle was the coach and when (Thomas) McCaffery came in, he did the same thing, he kind of kept it going.”

The Explorers did have a great defense, but they also had a goalie who stood on his head when needed. The Explorers went 11–1–1 overall, including a 1–0 triumph over Roman Catholic in the championship. They also got past Northeast 5–1 in the city championship. Their only loss came in the state playoffs when they fell to Central Bucks West in their first game in states.

“It really was a perfect year,” Werner said. “I think it would have been nice to go a little further in the state tournament, but winning the Catholic League was the big thing and we did that.”

Werner might be done stopping shots for his high school, but he’ll be wearing a familiar jersey in the fall. He’s accepted a scholarship to continue his career at La Salle University.

There, he’ll have a chance to compete and work with Mark Tobin, a Port Richmond native who guided Roman to a championship during his senior year in 2015. But Werner isn’t looking at it as a competition, he’s looking at it as someone to learn from.

“I met him at a camp over the summer and he’s great,” Werner said. “I’m really looking forward to working with him. He’s incredible. I think we will make each other better and push each other to play better. I’m looking forward to having a great relationship with him.

“La Salle was perfect for me. It’s great for soccer and great for academics. I’m not sure what I’ll study, I’m open to everything. I like math and science. This year, I have anatomy and psychology and I like them both, everything really interests me, so I’m not 100 percent sure what I want to study.”

And before he takes the field with Tobin, he won’t have to look far to find a workout partner. His brother, Brendan, is the starting goalie at Philadelphia Academy Charter and this year was named second-team All-Public.

“He’s going to be very good, he’s already very good,” Werner said of his brother. “He’s a great athlete. I think he’s going to be very good, he’s already been All-Public and he’s getting better.”

Perhaps as good as his big brother hopes to be in college.

But before he moves on to play for the other Explorers, he’s hoping to have a memorable few months of high school.

Not only does he want to have a long run in CYO basketball, he’s also looking forward to trying a new sport in the spring.

“I’m going to give volleyball a try,” Werner said. “My mom was a great volleyball player, and I’m friends with the coach so I’m going to give it a try.”

Of course, he’s also excited about playing soccer for the Explorers.

“I’m going to work hard and see what I can do,” Werner said. “I like everything about the school. I’m just excited to come in and compete.”