Players hope that Senior Classic appearance pays off
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By Curt Herron
Saturday was a pretty big day for some of the top boys high school players in Illinois and though it was just an exhibition, it was important.
The setting was DeKalb's Sports and Recreation Center and the event was the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association's Senior Classic.
Nearly 140 seniors from throughout Illinois where there to showcase their abilities at the 36th annual event, which is sponsored by Soccer Plus.
A large gathering of college coaches, ranging from Division 1 through junior college, where hoping to find some players to benefit their programs.
Based on the large turnout, there's clearly plenty of players who are still trying to continue their educations and careers at the next level.
Most of those who assembled were all-sectional or honorable mention all-sectional players, who took part in all five matches that were played.
The day's final match featured 23 All-State performers who are still looking to finalize their college plans.
For players like Lyons Township's Horacio Sanchez and Elk Grove's Nick Jordan, they have already made major progress in that direction.
But for guys like Downers Grove North's Paul Hogan and Saint Viator's Jack Horvath, their search for a potential school is still wide open.
Sanchez, who had 40 goals and 29 assists in his career while helping the Lions to two straight sectional titles and the 2009 Class 3A title, is looking toward a Division I school.
The member of the Chicago Fire Academy, who has played at forward or in the midfield, wants to study business in college.
He has considered schools such as Bradley University and Wright State University, where former teammate and All-Stater Chris Meingast is on the team.
"This was a great experience since we got the chance to play with other good players," Sanchez said. "It was a lot of fun getting out here and meeting some new guys and great to be able to play in front of a lot of college coaches.
"I've narrowed it down to two schools now, Wright State and Bradley. Wright State's coach is a great guy and I know that Chris is there, so I'd be making a good decision. He's been telling me about how they're doing there.
"Bradley also had a great year so I'm also keeping in touch with them. I'm going to take as much time as possible because I don't want to go somewhere and be unhappy. I'm carefully looking at everything educationally and athletically."
Jordan, a center midfielder who scored four goals and had 15 assists, helped lead the Grenadiers to their first Mid Suburban League division championship.
The member of Arsenal would like to focus on business in college and has been looking at programs such as Lake Forest College, Augustana University and Carthage College.
"It's a great to play in this considering that many others don't get that opportunity," Jordan said. "But you don't get much time out there, so that's why I was trying to take advantage of the time I had out there.
"I thought I played pretty well today so I'm hoping that some coaches recognized that and hopefully I'll hear from some of them. The key thing was to just try to play your game and kind of stay in the zone.
"I would not be in this position without my teammates, so I thank them a lot. Picking a college isn't an easy thing to do, but it's an interesting experience. Right now, I just have to look at where I see myself fitting in the best."
Hogan, who scored 26 goals and nine assists this year to help lead the Trojans to a successful season, hopes to find a spot with a Division I program.
A central midfielder with the Downers Grove Roadrunners, he finished with 36 goals and 15 assists in high school and is undecided about a college major.
"I was fortunate enough to make All-State so I came out to this event and hopefully I can get a little more recognition," Hogan said. "Obviously it was fun to have lot of talent around you but it was kind of tough since we don't know each other.
"I've been looking around and emailing some coaches, but I haven't made any decisions yet. "I've had a buddy or two who've already signed and it's nice to have everything set, but I still have some time before I have to make my decision.
"Hopefully I can find a good place to go with a good education and soccer program. My main goal is to go to a Division I program but there's a lot of D-II and D-III programs that are just as good. Hopefully my opportunity will come pretty soon."
Horvath, who has played as a center midfielder and forward, finished with over 30 goals and 25 assists while helping the Lions to the 2009 Class 2A title.
The member of the Chicago Fire Juniors, who is undecided about what he wants to study in college, is open to playing in almost any kind of setting.
"It's good to be with a group of guys like this since most of us play against each other in club, so it's pretty cool to come together," Horvath said. "And it' good to play with other high-skilled players since it makes you look better.
"I'm hope to play in college but I'm not really sure where I'll play yet so all of my options are open. I've been talking to a couple of schools, but nothing really big. I'll try to play Division I or go to a Division III school like Loras College.
"To be able to play a competitive sport in college you have to be able to be at the top of your game every single time you step on the field and that's hard. There's a lot of good players out there so it's a hard job to find the right people."
Other players reported on by this website during the past season who were slated to take part in the Senior Classic were Eric Ahrens (Lake Park), Danny Campagna (Glenbard North), Jared Casey (St. Charles North) and Adam Gatza (Crystal Lake South).
Also scheduled to attend were Zak Gudanick (Wheaton North), Chris Mash (Lake Park), Joe McLean (Downers Grove South), Brayhan Nunez (Prospect), Jared Perez (West Chicago), Adrian Porcayo (West Chicago) and Christopher Quintana (West Chicago).
Kosta Risteski (Palatine), AJ Seaman (Naperville Central), David Spudic (Prospect), Jacob Stock (Crystal Lake South), Michael Zentner (Conant) and Roman Zwarycz (Oak Park and River Forest) were others who expected to take part in the event.