The Lake County All-Area Boys Soccer Team
Owen Aaberg Grayslake Central The senior central midfielder was a leader for the Rams the last three varsity seasons and earned all-sectional honors this season. "He closed down space in the middle of the field and won challenges -- often against players nearly a foot taller than him -- with fearless tenacity," Grayslake Central coach Tom Hamilton said. "Owen has been the most complete two-way player I've had the privilege of coaching in my tenure. Even against many of the top programs in the state, Owen was often the most dynamic player on the field. He can play quick and simple passes to switch the point of attack, dribble out of pressure and take on defenders. He can pretty much do anything that's needed. He always puts the team first, embracing the dirty work and setting up his teammates selflessly, despite having the gifts and intelligence to create and finish his own chances."
Jesus Abrego MundeleinThe versatile senior played an important role in the midfield and used his work rate and skill to produce 5 goals and 5 assists. "He was a student of the game and a talented player," Mundelein coach Ernie Billittier said. "He can play all 10 positions on the field effectively, so he was tasked with different roles throughout the season. As a striker, he was really good at playing with his back to the goal and keeping the ball for our team so that our midfield and defensive lines could move up the field. He's incredibly strong and able to shield off defenders, which allows him to shed off multiple defenders. What his stats don't show is how his vision and passing range were oftentimes the start of our attacking moves. He's intelligent and hardworking."
Carlos Aguilar Vernon HillsThe senior was the heart and soul of the Cougars. He anchored the midfield and contributed 5 goals and 7 assists in a repeat all-area campaign. He was named all-sectional and all-Central Suburban League. "He has the ability to control a game with technical ability and vision and was instrumental in leading this team to back-to-back (Class 2A) regional championships," Vernon Hills coach Mike McCaulou said. "His leadership on and off the field helped the young Cougar group progress and develop throughout the year."
Preston Chartier Wauconda The senior is the latest in a line of quality goalkeepers for Wauconda. He had a goals-against average of 1.00 in 20 games and 3 shutouts. The repeat all-area player will play for Elmhurst College next year. "Preston was the most talented goalie I have ever had the pleasure of coaching," Wauconda coach Tim Miller said. "His practice habits are impressive for a high school player. His work rate and competitiveness in training were always high, and he set high standards for other keepers to follow. His technical ability was amazing from his all-year commitment and training. He makes a number of saves that, honestly, only a few keepers in our conference can make. Preston was as talented as any goalkeeper in the area, and I would put him against any goalkeeper in the state."
Omar Cordova Grayslake North He was a team player -- for two Knights squads this fall. Despite being a defensive midfielder, Cordova contributed a team-leading 13 goals and 6 assists. On Friday nights, he kicked for the football team and booted 22 PATs. "Omar was incredibly consistent, efficient and effective in every role we played him in," Grayslake North coach Adam DeCaluwe said. "He was a team player in everything he did, and he was willing to play and embrace any and every role we have ever asked him to. We asked him to defend more than attack, as his ability to read the game, dominance in the air and strength in the tackle made us tough to break down. However, we needed his ability on the ball, desire to attack, and his natural goal-scoring ability."
Nic Diana WarrenThe junior didn't secure his starting spot between the pipes until the start of the season. He then went out and showed that his coaches made the right decision. He opened eyes with his outstanding ability in goal, starting 23 matches, posting a goals-against average of 1.00 and notching 8 shutouts. "Nic's skills with his hands and feet helped us play a controlled style of play," Warren coach Jason Ahonen said. "His play went to another level in the regional games at Rolling Meadows."
Max Floriani WarrenReaching a Class 3A sectional final required a lot of teamwork by the Blue Devils. Max Floriani exemplified that with max effort. The junior midfielder earned all-state honors, contributing 11 goals while playing in all 24 matches. "Max was the linchpin of our team with his height and skill," Warren coach Jason Ahonen said. "He was a dominate force in the center of the park both with his feet and his head."
Patrick Graham Libertyville A three-sport athlete who also excels on the basketball and volleyball courts, the 6-foot-3 senior showed his athleticism and versatility on the soccer field this fall. The midfielder/forward tallied 13 goals and 8 assists, playing various roles. "Patrick is a fantastic young man who understands that there is more to soccer than winning. There is hard work, teamwork, unity, integrity, etc., that are all just as important as the score at the end of the game," Libertyville coach Kevin Thunholm said. "He will get the job done, but he will not sacrifice character for the sake of a win. The fact that he has the work ethic to back it up make him the player that everyone wants to have -- coachable, honorable and skilled. He can score at will with his head or feet. He was an all-around, complete player."
Ivan Guerrero Round LakeHe controlled the midfield and was as a leader for the Panthers, finishing the season with 4 goals and 4 assists. "He really worked the field and had great vision of the field," Round Lake coach Hugo Tellez said. "He opened things up a lot with through balls for our offense. He wasn't at all selfish when he would have his opportunity. He would have a shot and score when needed for us."
Maqiis Haywood Round Lake The powerfully built senior forward was electric on the field. He had 14 goals and 9 assists, giving him 41 goals and 22 assists in his varsity career. He earned all-state honors and was named all-area for the second straight year. "Many coaches said he's built like a running back," Round Lake coach Hugo Tellez said. "This past off-season, Maqiis was the guy getting some of the players to work out and condition. He was a special player who I've never had as a forward. He would do more than just score. He would involve the team. He would say, 'We, not me, Coach.' "
Camden Kowalski MundeleinThe senior midfielder was one of the most dangerous scoring threats in the area. An all-sectional selection, he had 18 goals and 3 assists. "Camden is, without a doubt, one of the best players in our program's history and certainly one of the most potent players and attacking threats we have ever had," Mundelein coach Ernie Billittier said. "He has elite athleticism on top of his incredible technical ability. Because he's a constant threat on goal, he can change the outcome of any game with one play. He can finish outside the box, is composed in front of the goal and on breakaways, can finish on a volley, and can finish with his head because he can out-jump other players. He holds himself and his teammates to a high standard and demands that standard in training and game every day."
Evan Larsen LakesThe 6-foot-5 junior forward could finish, and not just in the air because of his height. Larsen scored 11 goals on headers and 8 others with his feet. "His goals came on headers, fast breaks and timely shots that caught opposing defenders and goalies off-guard," Lakes coach Kevin Kullby said of his 19-goal scorer. "His presence in and around the goal caused many headaches for opposing defenses, as he created opportunities to score not only for himself but for his teammates."
Brady Lucas LakesThe three-year varsity midfielder displayed high-end skills and made the best of his senior year, has he helped the Eagles win a Class 2A regional championship. He contributed 14 goals and 3 assists, and was named all-sectional. "His leadership and playmaking abilities made him one of the best midfielders in the area and in Lakes history," Lakes coach Kevin Kullby said. "He was an outstanding attacker, whether he was dribbling, passing or shooting for the goal. His timely play on both sides of the ball made Lakes competitive against the best teams during the season."
Ian McKernan Carmel CatholicCarmel's man in the middle earned All-East Suburban Catholic Conference honors and tallied 10 goals and 5 assists this season. "He was our most controlled player and our attacking center midfielder," Carmel coach Ray Krawzak said. "He ran our attack, and we were always able to count on his play. While many players on our team had ups and downs, Ian was a consistently hard worker and a consistently great player in the midfield. His touch and control of the ball were superb and left most opponents confused and beaten."
Valde Nambo Vernon Hills Nambo made a name for himself. One of eight sophomores on the roster, he played a big part in helping the Cougars win 9 of their last 11 matches in winning a Class 2A regional championship. The dependable midfielder contributed 4 goals and 2 assists. "He was critical in keeping the shape that helped the Cougars keep a defensive core," Vernon Hills coach Mike McCaulou said. "He did an excellent job of starting the attack with his passing efficiency and vision. His technical ability was outstanding, and he had a great work rate."
Trevor Niznik Antioch The speedy junior defender moved from outside back, where he played last year, to middle back and earned all-sectional honors. "His outstanding play every game was one of the main reasons why our team cut the number of goals allowed from last year to this year almost in half," Antioch coach Mike McDermott said. "His speed and awareness of the game allowed our defense to improve and stay in numerous games this year by shutting down the opposing team's top player on a regular basis. He became a more vocal leader throughout the season, but more importantly, he began to lead by example on and off the field. He was our safety blanket so many times this year and would always be there cleaning up any loose balls, as well as being the one who would lead a counter attack."
Jesus Ramos Round Lake Nicknamed "Chuy," he could chew up defenders with his ball skills. The senior had 7 goals and 6 assists, and was named all-sectional. "He was a player who asked questions and talked a lot of strategy with me about teams and players," Round Lake coach Hugo Tellez said. "He was a leader and was always positive with his teammates."
Micky Reilly LibertyvilleThe all-area captain played in the midfield and, at times, up top. His play helped the Wildcats topple many opponents. The all-state player notched 21 goals and 12 assists. A three-year varsity starter, he is a repeat all-area selection. "He's a charismatic, relentless player who exudes joy when he plays," Libertyville coach Kevin Thunholm said. "Mick's got the numbers and the resume, but it's the intangibles that don't show up in the stats that separate him from the rest. He's a very special player."
Josh Segura WarrenHard work paid off for the central midfielder, who had 4 goals and 3 assists and provided much more for the Blue Devils. "He was our unsung hero this year with his tenacious hard work, effort and attitude in the central midfield," Warren coach Jason Ahonen said. "He was a box-to-box central midfielder who made it difficult on the other teams every minute of every game."
Luke Underwood Libertyville The senior scored 6 goals and dished out 15 assists in his third varsity campaign. "Another in a long line of outstanding midfielders," Libertyville coach Kevin Thunholm said of his all-sectional performer. "He took over the team last summer and set the tone of accountability among his teammates, setting the bar high, which resulted in Libertyville being ahead of our development as a team. He can be very quiet and leads by example on and off the field. Luke was a solid leader in every sense of the word. Very technical and smooth with the ball, his sharp mind and keen awareness made him one of the best in the state. He was always finding the open man or creating havoc for defense."