Glue of the Palumbo defense

Photo/Mark Zimmaro

Salvador Ramos’s goal is simply to make things better.

As an aspiring engineer, the Academy at Palumbo senior and South Philly resident brings the same mentality to the soccer field as he does for his possible future employment. Ramos will do anything to make things better.

“As a little kid, I’ve always liked engineering and the basics behind it,” said Ramos, who had a 3.9 grade point average last year. “They make life much easier.”

He said he hopes to specialize in petroleum engineering and learn how to extract oil from oceans in a more environmentally friendly way. It shows he’s always thinking of others before himself. The same can be said on the soccer field as Ramos switched positions this season to help strengthen the Griffins’ back line. He was used to scoring goals. Now he prevents them.

“At first it was quite peculiar,” Ramos said. “It was an odd feeling. But it’s nice to know that my coach has that much trust in me. I just did it for the team.”

The Griffins have needed every ounce of Ramos’ efforts this year as the team has found itself in several tight games. The team was 3-4 through Oct. 2, freshly coming off a 4-3 victory over Tacony Academy Charter.

“He’s the glue of the defense,” Griffins coach Nick Michalski said. “He reluctantly moved back to fullback, but he’s taken it on. Without him back there, things can fall apart pretty quickly.”

Palumbo has been the victim of a couple of close defeats, including a 2-1 double-overtime loss to South Philadelphia High School and a 2-1 loss to Thomas Mastery Charter. The Griffins’ program is growing and they are laying a foundation for future success.

“We got 20 guys on varsity and 20 guys on JV so I’m really looking forward to keeping those numbers up and building a team from there,” Michalski said. “We have 12 seniors but only three of them are in the starting lineup. My hope is that it will pay dividends next year.”

With guys like Ramos showing great examples of leadership, there should be a trickle-down effect in the next few years. Ramos could have easily been stubborn and stuck with what he knew. Instead, he was determined to learn a new position to help his teammates.

“I’ve learned to adapt to it,” Ramos said. “It’s been a learning experience. Sometimes you must do things you don’t want to do in order to achieve what you want. This is a team sport and I have to look out for the team as much as myself.”

Outside of soccer, Ramos said he plays pickup volleyball and basketball. He joined the soccer team junior year and was instantly a key part of the team.

“It’s been fun,” Ramos said. “I’ve made memories and I’ve gotten to know other individuals.”

And don’t be fooled. Those offensive skills are still there in Ramos’ tool kit. They still come into play despite being the team’s steadiest defender.

“If he wanted to, he could dribble the ball up the field easily and beat half the team before he had to distribute,” Michalski said. “He has good ball skills and a great shot and he distributes the ball well. He’s been a great player for us.”