LT boys soccer shows promise with addition of club players

Kristen Roemer, Reporter

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LT varsity boys soccer has a dominant squad this year consisting of 14 seniors, two sophomores and numerous juniors. Several seniors who play club soccer have decided to play at LT for their last year, and are expected to have an impact on the team.

“High school soccer gives players a sense of pride,” former club soccer player Aaron Onion ’16 said. “You get to wear your team’s shirt and play for your community.”

Due to the rule against playing high school soccer during a club soccer season, most club players haven’t had the chance to play every high school season. However, many of the club players, such as Onion and Alex Contreras ‘16, are returning to play their senior season. The entire varsity team this year consists of members who play club soccer and this increased number of club soccer players sets up the boys team for a very promising year.

“We have a talented group of players making up the varsity team this year,” varsity Head Coach Paul Labbato said. “This team has a bunch of potential and has strong leadership.”

Voted #5 in the Chicagoland pre-season rankings, the varsity team is hoping to make a run at the state championship. There are many club players who have been playing soccer together since they were little, and this experience is expected to give the team a leg up in the season, Onion said. All of the club players on the team are also an advantage because these players have been putting time into soccer all year long, Labbato said.

“We get along very well since we’ve all been playing with each other for many years either with high school or at our club teams,” varsity captain John Mazur ’16 said. “We hope to continue to get to know each other so we will have better chemistry on the field.”

So far, the greatest strength of the team is its defensive abilities that help keep teams off the scoreboard, Mazur said. The team’s midfield has potential but they are trying to focus mostly on improving their offense and working on putting the ball in the back of the net, Onion said.

“LT soccer always has high goals and being successful in both of our in-season tournaments (Northshore College Showcase and the Pepsi Showdown) are at the top of the list,” Labbato said. “Our end goal is to make a strong run into the playoffs and give ourselves a chance to be playing on the last weekend of the year.”

The team will be playing on Friday, Sept. 18 against St. Charles North due to a postponement of the original Thursday Sept. 17 game.

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