Boys soccer: Soccer runs deep in blood of Jacobs' Armstrong
Liam Armstrong probably had one heck of a kick in the womb.
Now he's looking to get his kicks leading a deep, talented Jacobs team, as the kid who has soccer in his DNA, and been around the sport his entire life, is thrilled to represent the Golden Eagles one final time.
"I'm a pretty hopeful person so I would love to say I didn't lose hope at all, but to be honest, I lost a little hope when I saw all these other sports stop playing and their seasons were in jeopardy," he said. "I was like 'Dude, I really hope we have a season, because if we don't, it's going to be a heartbreaker, especially with this being my senior year and a lot of the guys on the team being seniors."
He's getting his season.
"He eats, sleeps and lives soccer, and I've never coached a player with as high of a soccer IQ like he has," Jacobs coach Colin Brice said. "Soccer is a huge part of his life and he does everything so well."
Armstrong attended his first professional soccer game when he was about 14 days old.
"At the beginning of MLS, when the Chicago Fire were starting up, my parents took me to my first soccer game," he said. "I was just two weeks old. They brought me wherever they'd go so I went to all these big games and was around the game so much."
Since his father played soccer in college and his mother's side is from Brazil, it's no surprise that he's had a soccer ball at his feet all of his life.
"My dad really gave me the soccer bug," he said. "But my mom's grandparents are both from Brazil and that whole side of the family is from Brazil and they are soccer crazy born with it."
Jacobs welcomes back 14 returners, including all-conference selections Sam Rainer and Bryan Ramos, from a 16-5-3 squad that won a Fox Valley Conference title before capturing regional and sectional titles. The Golden Eagles were upended by Class 3A state champion West Chicago, 2-0 in the Conant supersectional.
Armstrong had 18 goals last year as striker, after serving in a defensive role his first two seasons.
"That was actually the last time that I played in a high school outdoor competitive game," Armstrong said. "It feels like ages, but in reality it's only been a year-and-a-half."
It's more than the action on the field that Armstrong appreciates about playing at Jacobs. He also has great deal of respect for the uniform he has the fortune of wearing for what it has given him.
"The Jacobs soccer program is probably one of the best things that has happened to me," he said. "Since I was a little kid and going to soccer games, it was my dream to play on the varsity field with all my friends. To happen like this, with the pandemic, is disheartening, but at the same time, the last three years have been awesome."
He's ready for more awesomeness.
"Jacobs has done so much for me, not only as a soccer player, but as a person and the friendships I've made along the way," he said. "Looking back at all the memories and great friendships I've made. These are things I hope to carry through for the rest of my life."
While he hopes to play in college, he's unsure of where, but he does plan on pursuing a sports-related degree that will keep him close to his passion.
"Sports are a huge part of my life," he said. "I love playing soccer and watching all kinds of sports so I'm looking to go into sports management, something in that area so I can stick with the whole sports hobby I have."