All-Area Boys' Soccer: Meet the first team
Urbana, junior, midfielder
Why he made it: All-sectional selection was a unanimous All-Big 12 Conference pick based on his ball-striking ability with either foot. A second-year starter, he had nine goals and a team-high 11 assists for a 14-7-2 team that advanced to the sectional finals.
A few of my favorite things: BBQ chicken pizza ... Cheesecake Factory ... Would like to try lacrosse ... AP biology ... 2000 Nissan Quest ... Kevin Hart ... Will major in marine biology and play soccer in college ... Last text was to my girlfriend, Raine Zilewicz ... Role model, my great-grandfather, John Bramlette ... In 10 years, I see myself living on a coastal area, studying coral reefs.
Three things on my bucket list: Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, sky diving and going free diving in the Red Sea.
Saul Downie, Urbana, senior, midfielder
Why he made it: Illinois Coaches Association all-stater earned Area Player of the Year accolades and is the area’s most complete all-around player. He played every position (but goalkeeper) and had six goals and nine assists. Two-time choice as Tigers’ most dedicated.
A few of my favorite things: Challah ... Sunny China Buffet ... Would like to try rugby ... AP physics ... First job as an intern at Novak, Weaver, Solberg Law offices ... 1988 240 DL standard-transmission Volvo ... Cosmo Kramer ... Will major in philosophy in college .. Last text was group message to my siblings ... Role model, Ricky Bobby, “If you’re not first, you’re last.” ... In 10 years, I see myself on the sidelines at Blackman Field, cheering on the Urbana boys.
Three things on my bucket list: Run with the bulls, patent something and found a local charity to help pay for college educations.
St. Thomas More, junior, midfielder
Why he made it: Illinois Coaches Association all-stater scored 22 goals and tied for the team lead with 10 assists in his first year playing with STM. He sat out last fall after transferring from Centennial and did double duty this year, kicking for the football team.
A few of my favorite things: Pasta ... Would like to try golf and swimming ... I like all my classes, especially theology because I am getting closer to God ... First job was at Rainbow International Cleaning and Restoration ... Oldsmobile Bravada ... Kevin Hart ... Michael Blackson ... In college, I am interested in studying medicine and becoming a physician in the future ... My last text was to Tori Rolson ... Role models, my beautiful mother Vida Sayon and my soccer coach James Johnson. They have helped me be successful ... In 10 years, I see myself having a family and playing soccer at the next level.
Three things on my bucket list: Go back to Africa to see my grandmother’s grave, visit Sweden again and help people in Africa.
Blue Ridge, junior, forward
Why he made it: Area scoring leader (34 goals) was an all-sectional selection and the offensive catalyst for a team that scored at least three goals in 11 matches. The leader on a 17-4-3 team has 56 career goals and followed up on a 21-goal season as a sophomore when he was one of the area’s top 10 scorers.
A few of my favorite things: Bacon cheeseburgers ... Buffalo Wild Wings ... Would like to try base jumping ... Physical education ... First job was detasseling ... Silver Nissan 200 SX ... Will Smith ... Will major in business management or athletic training in college ... Last text was to Taylor Builta ... Role model, my dad ... In 10 years, I see myself having a successful career and spending time with my wife and kids.
Three things on my bucket list: Own a Lamborghini Gallardo, go to the Bahamas and sit courtside at a Los Angeles Clippers game.
Danville, junior, goalkeeper
Why he made it: All-sectional selection had 96 saves, several in one-on-one situations, and a 1.04 goals-against average for a 10-7-3 team. Team’s vocal leader had seven shutouts for the season and had four first-half saves to keep a match with Urbana scoreless at the half.
A few of my favorite things: Cereal or peanut butter sandwiches ... Gross Burgers ... Would like to try lacrosse ... U.S. history ... First job was at McDonald’s ... 2000 Toyota Camry ... Kanye West ... Mac Miller ... In college, I plan to major in business and I hope to play soccer at a Division I school ... Last text went to Taylor Ellis ... Role model, my father Chris Griffin ... In 10 years, I see myself starting a career with Nike.
Three things on my bucket list: Go to a World Cup final, visit every state and every continent and be happy.
Monticello, junior, midfielder
Why he made it: All-Area first-team repeater was an all-sectional selection and had team-high totals of 15 goals and 12 assists. Helped the 13-8-2 Sages repeat as regional champions and secure a berth in the Class 1A sectional finals and the Sweet 16.
A few of my favorite things: Country fried steak ... Kamakura ... Would like to try hockey ... AP U.S. history ... First job was at Pioneer Hybrids ... a Ford Explorer ... Liam Neeson ... Imagine Dragons ... Will study biomechanical engineering in college ... Last text went to my girlfriend ... Role models, my dad and brothers ... In 10 years, I hope to be successful at whatever I am doing.
Three things on my bucket list: Practice with the U.S. soccer team, go to the Olympics and travel Europe.
Centennial, junior, midfielder
Why he made it: All-sectional selection had five goals and four assists for the Chargers. A shutdown defender who can quickly start the point of attack for the Chargers (7-10-2). Third-year starter called “the motor that keeps us going” by coach Andrew Peralta.
A few of my favorite things: Favorite food, my mom’s Thanksgiving dinner ... Flat Top Grille ... Would like to try archery ... Physics ... First job was delivering newspapers for The News-Gazette from kindergarten until junior high when the paper started being delivered in the morning ... Red 2001 Alero ... Phineas ... Will study business in college with a minor in applied science ... Last text to my girlfriend, Lauren ... Role model, Jesus Christ ... In 10 years, I hope I am owning an interesting business and starting a family.
Three things on my bucket list: Sky diving, visiting New Zealand and seeing the Seven Wonders of the World.
Urbana Uni High, senior, forward
Why he made it: Illinois Coaches Association all-stater tied for the team lead in assists (12) and scored 10 goals to rank second for a 15-5-1 team. Was one of the three Illineks who were unanimous all-league picks in the East Central Illinois Conference.
A few of my favorite things: BBQ ribs ... Chipotle ... Would like to try bobsledding ... Physics ... First job was driving a tractor on my uncle (Gary Hornbaker’s) farm ... Ford F-150 ... Eric Church ... Will study mechanical engineering in college and play club or rec soccer ... Last text to Taharka Baraka ... Role model, my dad, Rob Hornbaker ... In 10 years, I see myself working someplace warmer.
Three things on my bucket list: Go to the World Cup, sky diving and climbing Mount Everest.
Hoopeston Area, senior, defender
Why he made it: All-sectional selection and Millikin University recruit was a four-year starter and three-year captain who was the three-time Most Valuable Player in the Vermilion Valley Conference. Helped 18-5 team to a berth in the Sweet 16 and the sectional finals.
A few of my favorite things: Chinese food ... Panda Express ... Would like to try rugby or lacrosse ... AP calculus ... First job was as a paper boy ... Will Ferrell ... Will enter the pre-physician’s assistant program at Millikin ... Last text to Holly Morgeson ... Role model, Michael Donley ... In 10 years, I see myself working as a physician’s assistant or a doctor.
Three things on my bucket list: Learn to fly a plane, tour the world and visit Old Trafford.
Champaign Central, senior, midfielder
Why he made it: All-sectional selection was a unanimous All-Big 12 Conference pick and led the 15-5-3 Maroons in goals (13) and assists (15) despite frequently being marked by two or three opponents. Two-year starter one of the best at breaking down defenses.
A few of my favorite things: Favorite food, whatever my mom cooks ... Dos Reales ... Would like to try cross-country ... Health career class ... First job was as a carpenter for Habitat for Humanity ... Chris Rock ... In college, I plan to play soccer and be a pre-medicine major ... Last text went to my friend, Chris ... Role model, my dad ... In 10 years, I see myself graduated from college and with a master’s degree, married and with kids and still playing soccer.
Three things on my bucket list: Succeed in college, play soccer professionally and help others who are suffering.
Champaign Central, junior, forward
Why he made it: Illinois Coaches Association all-stater is a repeat All-Area first-teamer who was a unanimous All-Big 12 Conference pick. Third-year varsity regular had 11 goals (second on the team) and six assists (also second on the team). Was always around the ball and combined speed and strength with outstanding tackling ability.
A few of my favorite things: Chinatown Buffet ... Would like to try track and field ... Mathematics ... Lionel Messi ... In college, I will play soccer and I want to do medicine ... My last text went to Alex Zarco ... Role model, my father ... In 10 years, I see myself done with school and working in a hospital.
Three things on my bucket list: Finish school, play professional soccer and meet Lionel Messi.
Urbana, senior, forward
Why he made it: All-sectional selection became a varsity starter for the first time this season and led the regional champion Tigers in scoring (23 goals). Parkland College recruit was one of the catalysts who helped Urbana win a fourth consecutive Big 12 Conference championship.
A few of my favorite things: Pepperoni pizza or pie ... Steak ’n Shake ... Would like to try swimming ... College algebra ... a gold Nissan Altima ... Eminem ... In college will major in business or English .... Last text to my BFF, Audrey ... Role models, both of my parents ... In 10 years, I see myself playing semi-pro soccer, making bank and living life.
Three things on my bucket list: Watch an English League professional soccer match, travel around the world and go in a boat ride to Atlantis, Bahamas.
Judah Christian, senior, forward
Why he made it: Illinois Coaches Association all-stater a Grand Canyon University recruit who scored a team-high 29 goals (third in the area) and had 10 assists (second on a 12-3-2 team). Arrived in U.S. from England as a junior but was required by the IHSA to sit out a year.
A few of my favorite things: Mexican ... El Toro ... Would like to try American football ... Civics ... First job, refereeing at Soccer Planet ... Scion TC ... Harry Styles ... Will study the science of sport management in college ... Last text was to Miguel Fierro ... Role model, my grandfather ... In 10 years, I see myself playing soccer in the MLS.
Three things on my bucket list: Sky diving, swimming with sharks and seeing One Direction in concert.