Girls Soccer: Illinois-bound Emily Osoba eyes big finish at Sandburg
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media April 14, 2014 8:42PM
Emily Osoba for Sandburg Soccer for Spring Photo Day at Andrew High School, Sunday, March 23rd, 2014 in Tinley Park | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 16, 2014 6:27AM
Emily Osoba always has wanted to play soccer for the University of Illinois.
On Signing Day in February, the Sandburg senior’s wish was fulfilled as she inked with the Illini.
“It’s very exciting to have my plans set,” she said. “I’m very excited to go to Illinois. They have a great soccer program. They made it to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen last year. It’s always been my dream school. It’s really exciting. I can’t wait to get there.”
For Osoba, going to Champaign is a family tradition that she was eager to continue.
“All three of my older sisters went to U of I and both my parents,” she said. “Signing Day was very exciting. It was like surreal. You never think the day is going to happen and then it comes. It motivates you to work hard and keep pushing yourself to be the best player you can be.”
One of Osoba’s sisters, Allie, walked on to the soccer team at Illinois and ended up starting 28 games for the Illini from 2011 to ’13.
“I went to a lot of her games and watched her and her teammates play,” Emily said. “She helped me realize that I wanted to play college soccer and she helped me realize that it was possible. Watching her go through the process motivated me because I knew it’s what I wanted to do. She’s one of my major role models.”
Before she moves on to the Big Ten, Osoba will be one of the leaders of a young Sandburg squad this season.
The 2013 Eagles squad that reached the Class 3A Elite Eight was heavy on seniors. Osoba is one of the few returning mainstays for a team that has eight sophomores on the roster.
“It’s more of a lead by example type of experience for me,” she said. “If we work hard at practice and if we try hard, the young girls are going to follow us and we’re going to be a very productive, motivated and hard-working team. I have a few other seniors that can help me out. I’ve been playing with Sam Messina since I was 4, so it’s nice to have that.”
A center midfielder, Osoba scored four goals in the Eagles’ first seven matches. She’s also an exceptional passer.
“Emily is a very valuable player for us,” Sandburg coach Desi Vuillaume said. “She does a lot for us and is a big part of our attack.”
Osoba, who’s also a member of the National Honor Society, said her main goal this season is to get back to supersectionals and “win this time, make it to state.”
She also wants to soak up her final months as an Eagle.
“Playing for Sandburg is just awesome,” she said. “You have some of your best friends by your side. You’re with them every day. That’s different than club teams and stuff. You’re always motivated to work hard and keep the tradition going.”