Streamwood boys' soccer coach Matt Polovin has heard a familiar refrain from opposing coaches, players and officials in recent years.
"That No. 10 is something else. He's something special," Polovin said. "Players go to him like he's some kind of movie star."
Contact information ( * required )
That movie star is senior center midfielder and team captain Nestor Ascencio, who enters his final campaign at Streamwood with an even greater reputation as one of the area, state, and heck, even the nation's top boys' high school soccer players.
Ascencio is coming off a 2012 season where he was named to the all-state team and to the NSAA all-American team and was named a Top 150 player in the nation.
"He's the complete player with his vision, his technical ability and the love and passion he brings to the field," Polovin added. "He can finish with ease. He makes the game of soccer at the high school level look so easy and that's hard. He makes the game seem flawless without even trying. He's one of the Top 5 players I've seen or coached since I've been doing this in high school and club the last 14 years. Nestor is the real deal."
Ascencio is Streamwood's first all-American soccer player and only the third to earn all-state honors. Not bad for a player who moved to the holding midfield position for the first time last year. He scored 3 goals and had 4 assists in 2012.
"His job wasn't to score," Polovin said. "His job was to be the main guy in the midfield and he did that and became an All-American. It's great for Nestor and it's great for the school to have someone of his caliber play here."
Ascencio has been playing the sport since his early childhood.
"I've been doing this ever since I can remember," he said. "I've always been on the field watching my dad, brothers and uncles play. I was born with a ball in my hand, so to speak. I joined my first team when I was five. I got involved in soccer at a young age with my family. Soccer is a big part of our lives."
Ascencio noted he enjoys the team aspect of the sport the most.
"I love the whole concept of the team," he says. "You get to be around people you like and you are succeeding or failing as a team. You have to play as a team. They call it the beautiful sport for a reason. There's nothing else like it and nothing else matters. There's two things on my mind when I'm playing: to become better and to become a winner."
With the many accolades he's received comes the responsibility of being a leader.
"My biggest improvement has been being a better leader," he said. "That's a big part of my game. I've been a captain since sophomore year. Coach Polovin put his trust in me at a young age in high school. With his guidance I've been able to strive to get better as a leader on and off the field. I like to lead people and I like to point people in the right direction and give them the right advice. It's something I've worked on. In my opinion, I have a good way with words. I try my best to lead people the right way."
Polovin is impressed with Ascencio's humility on the field.
"He's very humble. You never see him do any showboating," Polovin said. "What he does on the field is what he does. He plays the game smart and does a lot of nice things to help the team. He's the complete package. He's a fun person to watch play the game."
A big aspect of the team concept for Ascencio involves his teammates.
"My best skill is getting my teammates involved," he said. "I want to make people around me better. I have good vision out there. When I get the ball I already know what I'm going to do with it before I get it. Soccer is a team sport. It's nice to get the glory, but it's also important to get your teammates involved. If the players around you are not getting better, there's no point to it. It's important that both you and your teammates improve as much as possible. This isn't about me. At the end of the day, it's about the team."
Ascencio was pleasantly surprised when he was informed he had earned an All-American honor.
"I was at a loss for words," he said. "That's the kind of thing you dream about when you are a little kid. To be considered one of the best in the country is amazing. I owe it all to my teammates, my family and my coaches. They helped me on and off the field. Without them I wouldn't be able to accomplish anything."
Ascencio places a heavy emphasis on his family. He's the youngest of three children.
"Family is very important," he said. "At the end of the day, your family will always be there to support you through the good times and the bad times."
Ascencio has been drawing college interest from the likes of Bowling Green, UIC, Duquesne and Western Michigan, along with several Division II and III schools.
"I definitely want to play in school," said Ascencio who plays club soccer for Campton United. "That's always been a dream as well. Hopefully I can make it to the highest level to play. It would be a great experience and a great accomplishment."
During his free time, Ascencio enjoys watching movies and spending time with family and friends.
"I'm almost never playing soccer," he says with a laugh.
Ascencio is excited about the prospects for the 2013 Streamwood season. The Sabres are coming off a 2012 effort where they went 13-8, won the program's first regional title and advanced to a sectional championship game.
"With this being my senior season, I want to make it the best for me and my teammates," he said. "We want to take it even further. We're not happy just having a regional plaque on the wall. We want to go further. The guys definitely are hungry and want some more success. They want to make it farther. We'll see where the season takes it."
With Ascencio at the controls, the Sabres could be in for a long and interesting journey.