Boys Soccer: Lincoln-Way North has leader in Osvaldo Salazar
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media September 11, 2013 9:44PM
Ozzy Salazar, of Lincoln-Way North, for Fall Photoday, Sunday, August 25th, 2013, in Tinley Park. | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 15, 2013 6:45AM
This fall will be especially busy for Osvaldo Salazar. That’s fine with him.
The Lincoln-Way North senior is looking to close his high school career in style — in two sports.
Salazar, a four-year varsity performer for the Phoenix soccer team, also is the starting placekicker for North’s football squad.
“I was on the football team last year, but we had a senior kicker,” Salazar said. “I did kickoffs and extra points every now and then. I’m excited to get to be the starting kicker now. I think we’re going to have a good season and hopefully I can contribute something to it.”
Salazar has contributed plenty over the first two weeks of the season, providing nine extra points and going 3-for-3 on field goals, including a 47-yarder.
While his gridiron success is new, Salazar is used to being the go-to guy on the soccer field.
He has led the Phoenix in scoring in all three of his seasons at North. In 2012, he had eight goals and three assists.
He knows he’s now a marked man.
“It’s pretty tough having the defense focused on you,” he said. “Coach Murph (Mike Murphy) was telling me that teams are going to know about me by now. It’s my senior year. They’re going to have extra guys on me, so I just have to do what I can to get my teammates involved and I think it’ll work out.”
Murphy knows he has a special talent at his disposal in Salazar.
“Osvaldo has a great mix of speed and strength,” Murphy said. “Whenever he has the ball, he’s a threat.”
Once a quiet player content to blend in, Salazar has now taken on a leadership role.
“Freshman year, I wasn’t much of a leader,” he said. “I was the youngest guy on the team and I kept to myself a lot. As the years have gone by, I’ve had to become a leader. I think this year a lot of the guys are going to look up to me so I try to set a good example.
“I just tell the kids who haven’t been on varsity before that they have to work harder than they have before. There will be some tough spots, but if you work hard, hopefully, it’ll pay off.”
North finished 4-14-4 last season, so Salazar is looking to lead a turnaround.
“If we can win more games than we lose, that’d be a good goal to reach,” he said. “I think we have a chance to do that. Individually, I’ve been All-Sectional the last two years, so I really want to go for All-State this year.
“I can’t believe it’s my senior year. I feel like I just started and now it’s my last year. Hopefully, it’s a good one.”