Sean Sconone: Filling John Galloway’s Shoes (and Sweatpants)
By Sarah Griffin | Jun 16, 2022
When Sean Sconone stepped in net on June 5th to open the Chrome’s season versus the Archers, it marked the first time in a decade that anyone other than John Galloway had backstopped head coach Tim Soudan’s clubs.
A two-time Division I Goalie of the Year, two-time national champion, three-time MLL Goalie of the Year, Team USA captain, and 1,735 saves in his career for the second most all-time, certainly Sconone had some big sweatpants to fill following in Galloway’s footsteps.
A Division I Goalie of the Year winner his senior year of college at UMass Amherst, as well as a two-time winner of the same title in the MLL, Sconone’s already found success in his own right, and is on track to be one of the best and most consistent goaltenders in recent history at just 25 years old.
Sconone was one of only two goalies picked up in the PLL Entry Draft following the MLL’s merger with the league alongside Cannons’ backstop Nick Marrocco. With Galloway on the verge of retirement, for Chrome head coach Tim Soudan, it was a no-brainer to pick him up.
“We picked him knowing he was the future of our franchise,” he said.
Sconone stepped into a special situation when he joined the Chrome. While every team has a backup netminder, only he can say he stepped in to back up legend John Galloway in his final season.
“I think it says a lot about his character that he provided me with such support while letting me finish off my playing career,” Galloway said. “He was a good, unbiased person for me to have. He was a backbone for me and someone that would always listen. He was presented with a unique challenge going from being a two-time Goalie of the Year in the MLL to backing me up in the PLL, but he was always there for me.”
While every goalie’s game is different, Sconone learned a lot from Galloway about the bigger things as he prepared to take the reins for the next year.
“John taught me everything about being a good leader and teammate. Being the best teammate possible is so important to me, and I’m spoiled to have learned from him,” he said.
The two still talk on a regular basis usually every week.
Following in the footsteps of a legend like Galloway is a tall order, and despite only playing in one game last season, Sconone’s transitioned seamlessly into his starter role.
“I was joking with him at the end of training camp, ‘do you think I should start you?’ and he was like ‘hell yeah!” Soudan laughed. “He’s everything I thought he’d be and he’s even better with the ball than I thought.”
“He’s a proven and experienced premier goalie, he’s one of the best for a reason,” said Chrome defensive coordinator Jacques Monte.
Speaking strictly as a goaltender, he's got it all. He has the size to cover the net, yes, but he’s also got lightning-fast hands, composure in the cage, and strong communication skills both as a goalie and a leader for the defense in front of him.
“He’s got some of the quickest hands I’ve ever seen,” Soudan said.
Galloway remarked the same. “He’s quick with the stick, and he has the ability to generate offense because of it when he makes these quick, clean saves. He’s so calm in the net, he makes it look easy.”
Galloway, Soudan, Monte, as well as UMass head coach Greg Cannella all remarked on the composure he possesses between the pipes.
“He’s fearless in the cage,” said Cannella. “He’s always comfortable and confident and the defense in front of him feel very comfortable with him in the net because of it.”
Chrome teammate Ryan Terefenko says as a defender, playing in front of him is easy.
“He’s always collected in the net. He’s a great leader who commands the respect of everyone on and off the field. He’s the first guy to point the thumb if he lets up a soft goal and say, ‘that one was on me,’ but he’s one of the best for a reason. It’s very easy to defend in front of him.”
Similar to Galloway, Sconone’s very vocal in the cage and is always communicating with his defense.
“He uses his voice and people listen, simple as that. That’s what leaders do,” said Monte.
A Long Island native, Sconone was the captain of both his lacrosse and football team at East Islip High School. His sister Melissa also plays lacrosse, and most recently won the national championship title at UNC.
“She’s cooler than me,” Sconone said, who sported a UNC shirt arriving at training camp the day of the title game to show his support.
Of course, with a Goalie of the Year award under his belt following his senior campaign, Sconone’s own college career wasn’t too shabby either.
“He had so many standout games especially his senior year it’s hard to pick just one,” Cannella said when asked if there was one game in Sconone’s college career that stood out to him in particular.
“I do remember his senior year walking onto the field at Towson before a big game and the fans there doing everything they could to intimidate him,” he recalled. With a big CAA matchup on deck against a tough Towson team, it was a must-win for the Minutemen. “He just looked at me and laughed.”
Faced with 27 shots on goal, Sconone quieted the crowd with that infamous calmness and composure. He made 17 saves to hold the Tigers to ten goals in a 14-10 victory for UMass.
“As we were leaving the field after the game he gave me the same look as before and we both just laughed.”
Composed both in net and off the field, Sconone’s just as valuable to his teammates in the locker room as he is in the cage.
“He brings compassion and calmness everywhere he goes, he’s a positive force,” said Cannella. “As a captain, he related to everyone in the locker room. Younger guys, older guys, even guys that needed a kick in the ass - he was there for them.”
For Soudan and the Chrome, a valuable leader in the locker room is essential.
“We do a lot of vetting when it comes to who we’re going to add to our team and we knew he was one of the best at the college level as well as the MLL in terms of goaltending, but we also knew what a genuinely good guy he is,” said Soudan.
“He’s a great locker room guy. He’s a kind soul, he’s quiet, but he’s funny and he’ll bust your chops. He’s also not afraid to laugh at himself. We do a lot of ball-busting on this team so that’s important.”
Terefenko mentioned the same. “He’s as nice as they come, and he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He’s the first to crack a joke and relieve some tension when we need it.”
Monte spoke of the altruistic culture the Chrome have built in their locker room and how Sconone’s fit into that culture since day one.
“We care about each other in our locker room. It’s important to have the skill set needed to play at this level, yes, but it’s also important to us that our guys are good people. Sean knows how to work well with others and he’s the ultimate teammate.”
“We want unselfish guys, and he’s just that. He’s very well-liked by everyone, he’s just one of those people. He really is the full package,” Soudan echoed.
“That’s just who he is. He’s a gentle giant - he loves helping kids find their way, and he’s a terrific role model for them,” said Canella.
With a 2-0 start to the season for the Chrome, Sconone leads the league in SAA with a 6.50 and is second in save percentage at 58.1%.
In the club’s most recent matchup in Charlotte against the Redwoods, he was a part of quite the milestone in the least amount of goals scored by a team in league’s history, holding the Redwoods to just three goals in the 12-3 win.
He recorded a 70% save percentage on ten shots on net and while I’m not going to say the fedora he wore off the bus was the reason why, I’m also not saying it didn’t play a role.
“I’m actually not a fedora guy, but I could be,” Sconone said. He explained the hat was a team thing started by the coaches. “Coach [Soudan] wore it week one, then I got it last weekend. Logan’s [Wisnauskas] supposed to wear it this weekend, hopefully he doesn’t forget.”