A “Steele” for any college, Croom is a team player

By: Doug Sarant
| Published 08/31/2023


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- With college coaches actively and legally communicating with high school upperclassmen starting September 2, it is time to start looking into just who these coaches will be talking to. The Woodlands High School Lacrosse junior goaltender, Steele Croom is one of the upperclassmen college coaches will be more than a little interested in discussing future plans with.

In team athletics there are leaders by example and then you have vocal leaders. Sometimes, both qualities are imbedded in one person. Born leaders not only lead by example, they actively seek out opportunities to make the team better and better throughout a season. Whether it be a simple pat on the back to a teammate that needs a boost or to tell a teammate to straighten out who is dragging the team down. It doesn't stop on the athletic field either. Operating with character on and off the field are musts as well. Does Croom lead by example and is he a vocal leader? The first part is a resounding yes because every second he is out on the field, he is giving his all to make sure he’s getting the most out of himself.

As for the second part of the question…Is he a vocal leader? The qualities of a vocal leader have always been inside Steele and they’ve crept out more and more as every year goes by to the point where every player on the team knows they can go to Croom with anything that comes to mind. If you’re going to be a leader, you’ll have to be approachable and Croom is certainly all of that. Combine that with his unmatched work ethic and you have an invaluable team leader.

How is Steele in the goal? He is MONEY! Just ask anyone who attended the Texas High School Lacrosse League Final Four in May.

Enjoy getting to know Steele Croom in this Woodlands Online profile of the week...

How long have you been playing lacrosse? How did you become interested in lacrosse? What was your motivation to play goalie?

I’ve been playing lacrosse for seven years since third grade. I started playing lacrosse because my older brother was on the Junior High team at the time. I decided to play goalie because one of my brother's best friends at the time was a goalie for his team, and my brother thought it would be a cool position.

2) Describe the 2022-23 TWHS men's varsity lacrosse team and why you enjoyed playing for the Highlanders?

The Woodlands 2022-23 team was a very special team to me. From the very first practice, our team competed. Every day was a competition whether it was meant to be or not. The team also grew very close, and I think that definitely helped us as the year went on. Our senior class led the team extremely well making up the foundation of everything we did. Although our seniors did a lot, Coach Demaio and Coach Dolan brought so much to our team this year. They both have an obvious passion for the game, and from the very start said that this was our year to make a playoff run. They both brought invaluable knowledge of the game as well as the experience we needed to grow. I cannot overstate how valuable they were to my personal growth this year as a player, and the growth of the team.

3) Do you like TWHS and why?

TWHS is a great school to be at. There are a ton of sports and clubs to be a part of to help find a place where you belong.

4) What is your wish list for colleges? Do you know what your field of study will be?

My college wish list is leaning towards an academic side. I want to go to a place that not only gives me a good experience, but also leave with a good education. I’m not sure what I’m going to study in college, but I have an interest in the sciences. Mainly Chemistry and physics.

5) What do you hope to be doing after you graduate from college?

I’m not sure what I want to do after college, but I hope to stay involved in lacrosse throughout my life.

6) What do you enjoy doing away from school and sports?

I like to golf with my friends whenever I get the chance. Although I just started and am not very good, it's a fun way to pass time with friends.

7) Who is your role model for lacrosse?

I have several role models and am extremely fortunate to have been able to work with so many amazing people throughout my years playing this sport.

8) Describe how supportive your family is in everything you do in your life.

My family has been extremely supportive of everything I do in my life. They have traveled with me every summer in order to give me the best opportunities I can get in the lacrosse world. They also support me in everything I choose to pursue, and do everything they can to help me.

9) If you were given a million dollars and had to give it to one charity, which one would you choose and why?

I would give it to the Hope foundation. This is a very personal foundation to my family. The Herndon family which we know extremely well have a son named Will who has been fighting Battens Disease all his life. This rare condition doesn’t have a cure, but their family has worked tirelessly to start the foundation and try to find a way to help their son.

10) Three things that people don't know about you

I love to wakeboard and wake surf, I like reading, I used to be a part of a swim team when I was younger.

11) When was the last time you danced? Where? You any good?

The last time I danced was at a Fourth of July party with my friends, I’m not very good but always fun when your with friends.

12) What is your favorite song in your phone now? Do you have a favorite group?

My favorite song right now is Follow God by Kanye West. I don’t have a favorite group because I listen to a variety of music.

13) Your favorite movie of all time.

My favorite movie is Real Steel.

14) If you were sentenced to death but you were allowed to go on one last date, who would the lucky girl be?

I would use the opportunity to spend some time with my Mom, and thank her for all the support she’s given me throughout my life.

15) You platooned this past season with Christian Clinton. Can you describe that experience for the readers?

Playing alongside Christian this season was an amazing experience for me in my development as a Goalie. Although it’s always a competition, me and Christian got along extremely well. Sharing time with him helped me develop my game not only because of the constant pressure it provided, but he pointed out bad habits before they became too much of a problem. While sharing time can be stressful it can also be a massive boost to help refine your game.

Let's see how some of Steele's current coaches feel about him. Enter TWHS head coach, Anthony Demaio...

"Steele is a great young man, he has a work ethic that you cannot teach. He loves the game and is constantly searching for any way to get better. He comes from a great family and is going to have a great college career. He gets it done in the classroom and on the field. Steele may not be the most vocal guy, but he does things by example, always the first one to practice and one of the last to leave. He has developed into a good leader. He takes care of his body like a professional athlete. Steele is a guy that will keep getting better, and I know he will be playing on TV on Saturdays in college."

Now meet Steele's T91-Long Island travel team coach, Brian O'Keefe...

"Steele has been a real pleasure to coach. He’s just a great kid. Outside of being a fantastic goaltender he is respectful, polite, and a great teammate.

He can start a game, or come in seamlessly in relief. Always ready to go.

In the cage, Steele has all the attributes to be a successful varsity, then collegiate goalie. He saves the ball with great form, is an excellent communicator and leader on the field, and is as fundamentally sound and athletic as any goalie in the 2025 class. We rely on his captain-like attitude and play every game. He’s a very good clearer of the ball, and starts a lot of transition play and early offense for us.

We are really excited and optimistic about his future in the sport and as a person! Any school would be lucky to have him on their roster."

We like to show our readers how these student athletes are...not only in the athletic arena, but more importantly how they are as human beings."

Steele has always been an extremely kind soul. He is typically the rule follower of the group. We are guessing that comes from being the youngest of three children to Chris and Kathy Croom.

In observing Steele, you'll notice he is constantly aware of how others feel and doesn’t have an unkind bone in his body. If he sees that someone is in need of a lift, he takes action and brings a smile to that person's face.

Harken back to seven years ago and the Young Highlander Lax program, the young ones would play a game at halftime of a varsity game which had to be the most entertaining lacrosse event of the year, every year it was played. This particular halftime game, Steele was in third grade and easily the smallest player on the field. However, even back then he was standing tall ready for any action that would come his way.

In the first minute of the game, the biggest player on the field won the face-off, ran downfield and proceeded to shoot as hard as he could on Steele's goal. Steele happened to be in good position and the point-blank shot from eight feet out drilled him in the thigh. You could hear the ball make contact a mile away. The referee called time-out, walked up to Steele to see if he was ok. Steele was hiding tears in his helmet and was able to barely respond while crying with broken words..."I'm ok." It was all he could do to get that out. He looked at the referee and pointed to another player that was laying on the ground and said...Can you please see if he's ok?"

The referee turned around and saw that a player was on the ground with what turned out to be a twisted ankle.

That sums up Steele Croom right there. He is always concerned with how other people are over how he is.

Segue to later in the halftime show, Steele made a save, ran down the field faking defenders out along the way, made it to the opposing goal and took a shot. I'd love to end this by telling you Steele scored. I can't because his shot went wide left.

I can tell you this though...when he was in eighth grade he made up for it by scoring on a team from South Houston.

You can expect Steele to be picked up by a top college this calendar year.

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