Star defender Pat Healey coming out of retirement, returning to Blast

Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at The Baltimore Sun.

From left, Baltimore Blast players William Vanzela, Pat Healey, Mike Deasel and Jonatas Melo celebrate as time expires against the Rochester Lancers during the MASL playoffs, Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

The Blast are bringing back one of their own, announcing that standout defender and former captain Pat Healey will return from retirement to join the team at the end of the month.

Healey, who turns 31 on Dec. 20, plans to be back on Dec. 29 when the Blast travel to Syracuse to take on the Silver Knights.


After eight seasons, Healey announced his retirement this past summer after accepting a teaching job at Perry Hall Christian School, where he also coached soccer.He will step down from his teaching post later this month and return to practice on Dec. 19 or 20.

The Blast, who are 3-1 and atop the Major Arena Soccer League's Eastern Division, officially welcomed Healey back at a press conference Wednesday at the team's headquarters in Rosedale.


The team also announced the signing of Brazilian forward Daniel Peruzzi, who most recently played futsal — similar to indoor soccer — in Italy and could be available to join the team as early as late next week.

Veteran forward Lucas Roque, who was the playoff hero last season, also is set to return on Jan. 1 after being granted a two-month leave from the team while his girlfriend gave birth to their first child in Florida this past summer.

Healey left the game on top, being named the league's Defender of the Year for a second straight season after leading the Blast to the 2015-16 MASL championship.But after working out a deal — owner Ed Hale Sr. first approached him about making a comeback immediately following the team's 4-3 loss to the Milwaukee Wave on Nov. 11 — he's excited to return.

Healey talked about the challenge of repeating as league champion — the Blast have won three championships during his career, but never repeated. But first things first for Healey.

"I always love going to practice, the camaraderie of the guys, going on road trips. That's all going to be fun," he said. "Trying to win a championship? We'll get there in late February and March. We've always [tried to play each] game and see how can we get better on that day and that's the mentality you have to have. You don't want to peak to early and that's what we've done usually — find a way to be the best we can in March and April."

In his opening remarks Wednesday, Blast coach Danny Kelly said it was a happy day with Healey and Roque returning soon and the addition of Peruzzi.

Before the season, Kelly rattled off all the adjustments the team was making with the departure of Healey, who finished with six goals, 17 assists and a league-high 43 blocked shots last season.

In addition to his leadership and fine game sense, Healey was the focal point of the team's power play and man-down units, took most of the free kicks and served as the Blast's extra attacker when trailing late in games.


"I'm looking forward to having him back and obviously getting him in the lineup as soon as he can, and going from there," Kelly said. "It's a great addition to our team and it immediately increases our chances of our goal to compete for another championship."

The Blast will host the Florida Tropics at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday at Royal Farms Arena.It's the third straight meeting between the teams with the Blast winning the first two, most recently a 5-1 road victory Saturday.