Ryan’s Westervelt ready to get back to work

Teddy Westervelt will be a four-year starter for Ryan. PHOTO: Tyler Paxton

It certainly wasn’t what he wanted for his birthday.

Teddy Westervelt, a senior at Archbishop Ryan High School, was hanging out with a few friends to celebrate his special day last month, and he came down with coronavirus. It wasn’t a serious strain, but it definitely knocked him for a loop.

“I woke up one day and I had a real dry cough, I was tired and sore,” the Torresdale resident said. “After the first day, it wasn’t bad at all. I felt good, I didn’t have many symptoms, but I did have an ulcer in my throat, so that hurt. But I was good other than that.

“I think I was hanging out with people who went away for senior week, and that’s how I got it. I had to rest a lot, but I was fine.”

Westervelt is ready to go now, but he still has a ways to go before he’s completely back. Luckily, he has some time before he has to be at full strength.

The senior will be the leader of the Raiders this fall and he and his teammates have high hopes of going far in the Catholic League.

Last year the Raiders had an up-and-down regular season before turning it on in the playoffs, winning two games and advancing to the semifinals where they fell in a great game against La Salle, the eventual Catholic League champion.

The great postseason gives Westervelt and his talented team a lot of confidence heading into this year.

“I think this is the most talented team we’ve ever had, we have a high-level club soccer player at every position,” said Westervelt, a midfielder. “And the good thing is we have a young team, too. We have really good young players. The sophomores are going to be really good this year. I don’t know the freshmen because we haven’t had a chance to see them because of coronavirus, but we have good seniors and juniors, and a lot of good younger guys.”

Westervelt will be the perfect one to show the youngsters the ropes.

This year will be his fourth year starting for Ryan coach Ryan Haney, and he’s been able to help out since the first day he got the call.

One of the best parts of his game is how versatile he is.

At Ryan, he almost always plays the midfield, either center or left side, but on his club team, he plays defender. He’s comfortable with all the positions and is willing to do whatever the Raiders need from him to be successful.

“Last year I played center midfield a lot, and I didn’t like it as much because it’s really bunched up in the center, and I like to be a playmaker outside,” Westervelt said. “And on my club team, I (play defender), and I like that a lot, too. But at Ryan, our defense is pretty good. If they need me, I’d love to play defense, but the defense is young and good, so I’ll probably play mostly midfield.”

Westervelt hopes to be the playmaker the Raiders need to bring the Catholic League championship back to Ryan. But he’s also ready to help out in other ways.

Ryan does have a talented senior class, but many of his fellow 12th-graders aren’t very demonstrative. Westervelt knows that means he will have to be the one to fire the team up when the situation calls for it.

“I think I’m going to be the leader because it’s more my personality than some of the other guys,” Westervelt said. “We had a lot of great leaders when I was younger, and I learned a lot from them. I know we need that. The young guys are really skilled players, but someone has to help them get ready for everything, especially in the Catholic League. I am really looking forward to doing that.”

The Raiders will also need time to learn how to play together.

Typically, the squad competes in a summer league where they get to play against other top-level high school teams. But this year because of the coronavirus, schools aren’t allowing teams to get together. But Westervelt and a few teammates are doing something away from school.

A few of the guys signed up to play in a men’s league. It just started, but thus far the team is holding its own against great competition.

“Most of the guys are older than us, and we just played Holy Family’s team and they beat us 4-2,” Westervelt said. “They’re pretty good. The younger guys really played. I played but I wasn’t 100 percent, I’m still getting into shape.”

Westervelt is now focusing on the future.

This summer, on top of playing soccer, he’ll do some work at his dad’s store, Spike’s Trophies, where just as he does on the field, he does whatever is needed. He also hopes to find a school. Accounting is a possible major.

“Before I got sick, I was working with the masks,” Westervelt said. “I always make sure to wear a mask, too. I guess it wasn’t enough. But that’s a fun job. I do like working for my dad.”

Now he just wants to stay healthy and start playing.

“This should be our best year,” Westervelt said. “We have a lot of talent coming back. It’s a good league, but I think we could win it.”