Boys soccer: West Chicago wins state championship
West Chicago residents will never forget where they were the night of Nov. 9, 2019, when the Wildcats stunned Morton 2-0 to win the Class 3A boys soccer championship.
Many of them were in Hoffman Estates, jammed in the frigid stands like sardines in a can, rooting on their Wildcats as they won just the second state title in school history and the first since the football team won in 1974.
"This is the greatest feeling in the world," senior Moises Morfin said. "It's just something crazy. We did it for our town and we did it for ourselves. We talked about it since Day One and look at us now with the state title."
West Chicago coach Jose Villa, a 2006 graduate of the school, was at a loss afterward as he tried to appreciate the history that had just been made.
"It's hard to put it into words," he said. "There were tears and some yelling and screaming in excitement and some go hug our boys and celebrate with them. And there was thanking the fans that were amazing today and also obviously high-fives for the Morton players who were amazing too. It was a great game."
Morton (23-4-2) hadn't lost to an Illinois team prior to Saturday.
The Mustangs probably had the better run of play in the first half, but they had nothing to show for it. They certainly applied a great deal of pressure, but the Wildcats did what they needed to do to keep them out of the net.
"The most important thing for me was to do whatever in my power to keep my team in the game," Wildcats goalkeeper David Kuehn said. "At the end of the day, I was able to come up with some saves that definitely kept us in it."
Kuehn made 6 saves and the Mustangs kept him busy with 7 corner kicks and 10 shots overall.
West Chicago (24-2-3) wasn't as organized in the first half, so the Wildcats asked Jahir Martinez to take on more of an attacking playmaker role. It proved key to the Wildcats scoring twice and winning a championship.
"We were a little bit sloppy in the first half," he said. "They decided to put me in as our No. 10 and obviously the game changed."
Martinez connected with Morfin, who dribbled in and then showcased his amazing skills on the dribble to score what proved to be the game-winner.
"I saw their left back coming at me and did the bicycle and went left," Morfin said. "(The defender) dove for it and the other center back was coming for me, so I pretended like I was going to shoot and went back to my left and back to my right and then it was just an easy pass to the net. I just went crazy after I scored."
As did the crowd that not only filled every seat in the bleachers on both sides of the field but also stood along the fence line surrounding the stadium.
There were still almost 13 minutes remaining after Morfin scored, so the game was far from over, but the Wildcats simply would not budge. Instead, they extended their lead. Martinez blasted a shot into the upper right corner of the net with 8:03 left to play.
"Since Day One we believed we could do this," Wildcats senior defender Ben Suddeth said. "Not for a second did we doubt it. We knew coming in that Morton was going to be strong. It's a state championship. But all season long we've never given up. Today we never thought for a second we were going to go down and even if we did we knew we weren't going to lose."
Last year the Wildcats had a losing record, Kuehn was playing JV and Suddeth and Morfin were playing elsewhere. Now, they're state champions. It's nothing short of amazing.
"I think this championship brought the whole town together," Morfin said. "Not just us a group but literally the whole town and that's the greatest feeling, seeing everybody together. We did this for our town."