A three-year starter, Tom DeStefano Jr. was an all-star goalie for the Steinert soccer teams of 2001-03. All three seasons, he earned all-conference and all-county recognition and as a junior he received all-state acclaim. His senior year he was also honored with All-America recognition.

"Being named an All-American is something I will never forget," he said.

A three-time recipient of the Judge Al Cooper Goalie of the Year award, DeStefano set a school record for shutouts.

"These years were some of the best years of my life," DeStefano said. "I look back and we had some great teams. I know the accomplishments that I did receive would not have been possible without my teammates. Now I call a lot of them lifelong friends."

He moved on to play at Mercer County Community College and was a member of the Vikings' national championship season in 2004. After splitting time in goal as a freshman, the next year he led the nation in shutouts and was second in save percentage as he allowed just seven goals in 1,566 minutes and posted 14 shutouts. He was selected to the all-regional team as the Vikings finished third in the nationals.

DeStefano finished his career at North Carolina State University where he split time in the Wolfpack goal as he led the Pack in saves and earned a shutout draw with No. 1 Clemson. Before an injury cut short his career, he helped the Pack draw with No. 1 UCLA as a senior.

He was an assistant coach at MCCC for the women's soccer team and also with the Vikings' men's basketball team. He continues to work as a trainer with area goalies.

DeStefano's talents were not limited to soccer as he earned two varsity letters and made all-county in basketball at SHS. A shooting guard, DeStefano helped the Spartans reach the state tournament. One of his strengths was 3-point shooting. He also played some basketball at MCCC.

He knows he is fortunate to have an excellent support system.

"There wasn't just one person who influenced my athletic career – I would say it was my family," DeStefano said. "I had unbelievable support from them. At the end of the day, that's what you look back on and you appreciate more than anything."

There were others who helped shape him as an athlete.

“Some others that were very influential were Bob Smith, Tom Fink, Ed Gaven, Ray Russell and Bob Rigby,” he said.