Bremen's Jesus Guzman | File photo
30 Players To Watch
(in alphabetical order)
Richard Alcantar, Sr., defender, Oak Lawn; Ricardo Aldape, Sr., midfielder, Bloom; Ramon Calvillo, Sr., defender, St. Laurence; Andrew Chialdikas, Sr,. defender, Lemont; Jake Cogan, Sr., midfielder, Crete-Monee; Juan Elizalde, Sr. forward, Bloom; Erick Estrada, Jr., goalie, Stagg; Jose Estrada, Sr., forward, Reavis; Jesus Fernandez-Ortiz, Sr., midfielder, Thornton co-op; Jesus Guzman, Sr., defender, Bremen; Ray Kobus, Sr., midfielder, T.F. co-op; Ivan Magana, Sr., forward, Shepard; Sean McGovern, Sr., goalie, Lincoln-Way East; Ian McGrath, Sr., midfielder, Lincoln-Way West; Jesus Mendez, Sr., forward, Andrew; Alex Meyer, Sr., forward, Marist; Dan Michalik, Sr., midfielder, Lockport; Jesus Ortiz, Jr., goalie, Argo; Julian Razka, Jr., defender, Oak Forest; Alex Rodriguez, Sr,. forward, St. Laurence; Patrick Russell, Sr., defender, Sandburg; Osvaldo Salazar, Sr., forward, Lincoln-Way North; Ben Salvador, Sr,. forward, Providence; Justin Schmidtke, Sr., midfielder, Illinois Lutheran; Sean Sibley, Sr., midfielder, Lincoln-Way East; Kevin Staniszewski, Sr., defender, Lincoln-Way West; Jackson Strick, Jr., midfielder, Beecher; Roberto Torres, Sr., forward, Stagg; Przemyslaw Tylka, Sr., midfielder, Sandburg; Eric Whatley, Jr., midfielder, Lemont
Updated: September 29, 2013 6:09AM
Roberto Torres and Erick Estrada anchor a Chargers squad capable of big things in their first season in the SouthWest Suburban Blue.
The Eagles have to replace 2012 Chicago Fire/SouthtownStar Player of the Year Zack Biel, 15-goal scorer Kevin Kroll and All-Area goalie Adam Zehme, among others, from last year’s team that finished third in the state. Sandburg returns just four starters, but the cupboard is far from bare as Patrick Russell and Michael Moore anchor a veteran defense, and a group of talented players, including midfielder Przemyslaw Tylka, join the team after playing club ball last season.
The Braves return six starters, including star defender Jesus Guzman, from a team that finished 18-5-1 and won the South Suburban Blue title. Senior Manny Esparza takes over in goal.
4. Lincoln-Way West
The Warriors bring back seven senior starters from a regional-winning 2012 squad. Ian McGrath is among the area’s most talented players.
5. Lincoln-Way East
The Griffins, who move to the SouthWest Suburban Red this season, have to replace All-Area performers Jim Ralph and Mike Roth, but they return several key contributors from last year’s SouthWest Suburban Blue and regional champions. A pair of Seans — goalie McGovern and midfielder Sibley — lead the way.
Last season was an aberration for the Indians, as they finished 15-4-4 but fell short of conference and regional titles. Eric Whatley, Christian Goushas and Tedor Trifunovski lead a talented junior class.
The Blazing Trojans, fresh off a 19-3-1 season that included a 10-0 run through the Southland Conference, return a strong core on defense. Ricardo Aldape, who joins the team after playing with the Fire Academy last season, should provide a major boost for the offense.
8. St. Laurence
The Vikings, who made the Class 2A Sweet Sixteen in last season’s breakout campaign, took a hit when coach Nate Grosse left for a college job earlier this month, but Bill Gaichas inherits a talented team with five returning starters.
The Cardinals won the South Suburban Red in Iran Rodriguez’s first season and will look to reload to replace a talented Class of 2012.
The Rams bring back dangerous forward Jose Estrada and goalie Rafal Slomba among six returning starters from last season’s regional champion squad. Jose Alvarez, a transfer from Eisenhower, should give the defense a boost.