Men’s Soccer Preview: Eagles Look to Flip Script From Last Year


Kacie Cusick

Ruti Arteaga (#7) keeps a sharp focus as he looks to pass the ball down the pitch

Jacob Steinberg, IV Leader Sports Co-Editor

After two rough seasons in the short history of the program, the IVCC Men’s soccer team will look to see if the third time is the charm for a successful year.

Finishing the 2017 campaign at 3-11-3, Coach Tim Cottingim feels confident that this team can take the next big step.

“I’m feeling a little better this year than I was last year; I think our schedule was a little tougher last year,” said Cottingim. “We have eight returning players that all saw significant playing time last season that know what it takes to succeed on this level.”

The amount of returning sophomores is a positive sign for the team. However, they will need to step up in a big way. The loss of Kevin Sanchez and Adrian Perez, the two leading goal scorers from last season, leaves the team with a big question mark. How is the team going to fill the void left by those two players? “We don’t have a true goal scorer,” said Cottingim. “It will be done more by committee.” Cottingim noted that he wants returning sophomores Isaac Casas and Cory Beardsley to step up their production from last year.

“We have a different type of play, we all work together very well this season,” said Casas. “We are trying to build up our chemistry in order to set up the goals as a team instead of on an individual basis.”

A positive sign for the future of the program is the new recruits that Cottingim has strung together. There are 10 new freshmen on the roster this season for the Eagles, one of which includes Hunter Bannon out of Coal City High School. Bannon previously played with the Chicago Fire juniors and made the Interstate Eight All-Conference team twice in his high school career.

“He’s a very good shot stopper,” said Coach Cottingim. “I think he’s going to help solidify and anchor our defense.” “I think he is going to make us even better defensively.”

Another player that has impressed Cottingim is Keegan Johnson of Earlville High School. “He showed out well in the preseason, better than I thought he would,” said Cottingim. He believes that Johnson can potentially add more to the scoring mix to a team that desperately needs goal scorers.

The freshman recruits have shown promise so far. With a new teamwork-style approach this season, the Eagles hope that everyone will contribute to the fold instead of a few individuals.

In terms of goals set for the team, Cottingim expects massive improvements from the past two seasons.

“The goal is to win the regional tournament,” said Cottingim. “We need to have better success during the regular season to win that tournament.” Another goal Cottingim set for the team is to win 10 games this season.

All home matches are at Rotary Park in LaSalle. The captains for this season are Cory Beardsley, Zach Espitia, and Frank Gondwe.