Put a plaque on the wall
The Woodstock High School boys soccer team has not won boys regional soccer title since 1994. Members of the team are looking to rectify that situation this year, and they believe they just may have the talent.
“If we keep playing the way we are now, I think we will do very well come conference season,” said senior co-captain Wyatt Meyer. “My goal since my freshman year has been to win regionals and get a plaque up in the school, something we haven’t done since 1994, before I was born.”
“We are doing better than last year,” said senior Carlos Umana. “We lost our first game, but we did really well in the [Rockford Jefferson] tournament. … We need to stay healthy and keep practicing hard. I want to win conference and regionals.”
Head coach Mike Golda is entering his third year coaching at WHS and said he has been impressed with the players who returned from last season.
“The leadership this year is going to be even stronger from the guys taking over that were here last year,” Golda said. “This is my third year coaching at Woodstock, and this is the tightest team bond.”
Returning starters for the Blue Streaks include seniors Umana, Meyer, Cesar Gonzalez and Ian Ordonez; and sophomores Jose Gonzalez and Caleb Schroeder. The remaining starters are senior co-captains Alex Esparza, Dieby Herrera and Luis Arrellano; junior James Sullivan; and sophomore Jose Arias.
The team had to overcome adversity before the season when teammate Jacob Norys died in a car accident.
“A lot of kids on the team played for his dad growing up so it hit us really hard,” Golda said. “At the same time, it really brought those guys together. They have really dedicated themselves to the thought of Jake watching over them.”
The team attended the funeral and the wake.
Golda said the team’s strength this year will be offense so they will need to really work on their defense.
“We have some very skilled offensive players,” Golda said. “I think defensively is where we are going to need to pick up the slack from last year because we had a solid defense and our goalkeeper was all conference. I think [goalkeeper] Jim [Sullivan] is really going to have to command and control his defense and get those guys tight.”
The Streaks are 4-2 as of Aug. 30. Arrellano, who was Fox Valley Conference honorable mention his sophomore year but did not play last year, leads the team with seven goals.
Golda praised his captains and said they have been key in the team’s success to this point.
“Since the first day [the captains] have been instrumental in taking the leadership role as far as making sure guys are at practice on time and getting the most out of the practice time we have,” Golda said. “They are really good at keeping the team focused and keeping them on the same page.”
Meyer said he believes the success of the team is largely due to being positive and working hard.
“Everyone has really had a good mindset about this season,” Meyer said. “Everyone has been thinking positively and working their butt off every day in and day out, which is what we need and what we haven’t had since I have been in high school.”
Golda, who is extremely competitive, said he wants his team to be both physically and mentally ready for the playoffs.
“My goals don’t change as far as wins and losses,” Golda said. “Every team I have I try to mentally prepare them for winning their opening game, competing for a conference title and, hopefully, peaking at the right time and being at 110 percent in the playoffs.
“I try to keep them interested, focused and at their prime as far as conditioning. We don’t want any nagging injuries going into the playoffs. We want to be at full strength and full confidence.”
The rest of the roster includes seniors Victor Cortes, Cesario Garcia, Andres Ortiz, Tyler Parsons, Andres Ponciano and Jesus Rodriguez; juniors Josh Ocampo, Nick Noboa, Ericsson Julio; sophomores Miguel Carreno, Juan Castaneda, Alfredo Echeverria, Creighton Lisowski and Jason Mendez; and freshmen Carlos Juarez, Brett Kendall, Sam Lynn, Adam Mayber and Javier Ramirez.