Boys soccer: Fremd's Schoffstall made those around him better
It isn't often a defender is known as much for his goal scoring as his attempts to stop such exploits on the other end of the field, but Fremd senior Jake Schoffstall is the exception.
His long, sweeping passes, powerful shots, and redirected headers provided the base from which others would benefit.
With 24 goals in 40 matches these past two seasons, Schoffstall is easily the highest scoring defender in and around the Northwest suburbs, so it's no coincidence that he has such an impressive trophy haul.
During this time, he has picked up two Mid-Suburban League West Division Player of the Year honors as well as All-Area and All-State accolades, a spot on the All-American Watch List of the well respected TopDrawSoccer.com website and now, 2019 Daily Herald All-Area Boys Soccer Team Captain.
Schoffstall has also been a key part of a Vikings team that recently collected MSL, regional and sectional titles before falling to St. Patrick in a Class 3A supersectional, falling one win short of the state tournament for the first time since 2014, when his oldest brother Zach led that club to a third-place finish.
The mention of Zach Schoffstall brings into play the story of the Schoffstall family itself, which begins with Jennifer and Rick who each starred in two sports at Fremd in the mid-1980s, then later in college.
"The Schoffstall boys come from good stock, so it brings that certain level of competitiveness that I've seen from each of the four brothers who I've had the privilege of coaching," said Vikings coach Steve Keller.
"You can just imagine how competitive it is in our house," said Jake Schoffstall. "There are so many examples of how we get after each other, but the best is when we play 2v2 games, I'm usually with my younger brother Eli (second in scoring for the Vikings this season) while Zach and Luke team up.
"Whether its soccer, basketball, football, video games, it's out of control insane but that's just the way it is. I know it's made all of us that much better when we compete for real."
Zach Schoffstall would go on to shine at Carthage College, while Luke would play one year with Zach before transferring to Illinois State.
All four played basketball at Fremd, Luke choosing to kick for the football team during his senior year.
"Each of the four has their own distinctive personality, as you would expect, but when playing (Zach) was gifted with the ball on his feet and had terrific vision and always knowing what to do," Keller said. "Luke was so strong, he could possess, and play with his back to the goal really well while Eli, the sophomore, has the best technical skill. He can dribble out of trouble, and like Jake can and has scored some big goals for us."
That brings us to the All-Area captain for 2019.
The MSL has carried a reputation of being one of the toughest leagues around and much of that comes about from the tenacious and physical defensive nature of several players down through the years including Jake Schoffstall, an imposing figure in the center of a stingy Vikings defensive unit.
Scouting reports on Schoffstall would read: a complete central defender who is strong in possession, has the recovery speed to cover for mistakes made in and around the area and never caught pulling out of a challenge should there be one; one who is difficult to get the better of plus an extraordinary free kick artist.
Of his 31 career goals, several have come via free kick blasts, two in the Vikings' regional final last season against Wheeling, and another one week later during a shootout loss to Libertyville.
Then there's this from Keller:
"Jake is a player that does not want to lose. He'll do whatever it takes not to and has that certain edge that all the great ones have, plus the will and desire that pulls everyone around with him. He's so athletic, strong in the air and with his foot, he can serve the ball like no other. He's always in the right spot and it's his energy and leadership that make him the player that he is."
Schoffstall came up through the ranks with several others on the current Vikings' roster, all of whom began playing together at a young age later coming under the tutelage of Keller, who put the finishing touches on each and every one.
"(Keller) is an unbelievable coach. His experience from playing at Indiana has helped all of us so much and for me he's been the person who has helped me through my journey of playing in high school, and onto the next level," says Schoffstall, who will sort out his college options in the coming weeks.
"Being a part of Fremd soccer has been the best thing about high school and the biggest thing that I'll miss is just being around everyone on this team."