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Poll: Chicagoland Soccer First 50

By Patrick Z. McGavin , 11/06/23, 11:29AM CST


Naperville Central will never forget its moment in the sun.

The Redhawks punctuated an 18-game season-ending winning streak with their 1-0 victory over Romeoville in the Class 3A state championship Nov. 5 in Hoffman Estates.

The natural question is what do they do for an encore?

To help figure that out, is there a better way to welcome back the boys soccer season than with Chicagoland Soccer’s annual First 50 preseason poll? 

For neophytes, this poll marks the map where we think you should look for the top prep soccer programs in the state, regardless of which IHSA class designation they play under.

Any sanctioned team was considered for inclusion on the list. Their past season accomplishments and returning talent were measured and studied.

Strong performances and seasons overwhelmingly tend to carry over.

Until proven on the field, Naperville Central is our team to beat. That stands even though its Player of the Year, Chase Adams, is away pursuing his professional dreams with the Columbus Crew academy program in Ohio instead of trying to defend the Class 3A state championship in his sophomore year.

Despite graduating Adams and other top offensive producers, Naperville Central has a wealth of options, positional flexibility, size, athleticism, an air-tight defense with multiple defenders and a keeper returning.

Still,  the Redhawks are far from a shoe-in. The field is loaded.

One prominent coach asked to survey the new season said: “I heard good stuff about Elgin. Other than that, I think the usual suspects will all be there with more parity.”

Last season, Elgin, then 20-0-3, met a fellow undefeated and no. 1-seed in York (19-0-3) on Nov. 1 at Streamwood. The Dukes prevailed 4-2 in PKs after a 2-2 score following 100 minutes of play.

Many of the key teams that battled for state supremacy are back in the First 50.

The three defending state champions -- Naperville Central and two Notre Dames (Peoria in Class AA; and Quincy in Class A) -- are prominently featured in the poll.

The best way to approach the First 50 is as a conversation-starter, a way to project the eight-week regular-season and three-week playoff run that follows.

Beginning at the start of next week, Chicagoland Soccer will publish four, regular-season polls to keep its finger on the pulse of the state's top teams. The Top 25 charts the Chicago-area teams; the Illinois 10 spotlights the best programs outside the city and suburbs. If top smaller schools don't reach those heights, they'll likely earn a spot in the Class AA and A Super Seven polls.

Last season, Naperville Central and Adams made a grand statement with an opening-day victory over perennial, suburban power Morton. Everyone has a clean slate right now. 

The possibilities are infinite, like the beauty and wonder of the game itself.


(PR-Previous ranking refers to the team’s placement in the Final 50 poll last November. NR means not ranked. The records are the final marks from last year.)

Rank Previous rank Team Record Comment
1 1 Naperville C 26-3-1 Defense could lead the way
2 5 Elgin 20-1-3 6 starters from supersectional team
3 8 Morton 20-3-0 Max Aquino is back
4 2 Romeoville 28-2-1 Dangerous nucleus leads
5 4 York 20-2-3 Loaded with offense
6 13 Notre Dame (Peo) 23-3-1 AA champs return intact
7 9 Hinsdale C 16-5-1 Elite offensive talent back
8 10 Oak Park/RF 15-4-0 Versatile, deep and skilled
9 6 Naperville N 17-4-4 Hindo Allie is next star
10 11 Lyons 15-6-3 Fine mix of skill, size and playmakers
11 21 St. Charles E 18-4-3 Saints feature dynamic attack
12 15 Glenwood 20-4-2 AA runnerup back in force
13 19 Bloom 21-6-2 Lots of moxie with 10 starters back
14 16 Grayslake C 19-2-3 Chicago's top AA team is loaded
15 17 Sandburg 17-2-3 Eagles have strong core
16 14 Benet 15-5-1 Quality, consistency a trademark
17 7 New Trier 19-2-4 Trevians have gifted young talent
18 20 Stagg 20-3-2 Returns experience and skill
19 22 Solorio 22-5-0 Look for city repeat, state finals run
20 23 Lane 15-5-1 Sectional finalist looks to retake city
21 29 Edwardsville 17-6-2 Tigers are best of the south
22 12 Conant 20-5-1 Brimming with offensive talent
23 27 Notre Dame (Qy) 19-6-2 Class A state champs seek repeat
24 33 Marmion 10-9-5 7 starters back, big things expected
25 NR Lockport 15-5-1 Laden with size, depth, versatility
26 24 St. Laurence 19-3-1 Skilled playmakers will direct Vikings
27 39 Mount Carmel 14-4-5 Brandon Razo leads skilled group
28 31 Joliet West 17-6-3 Speed will break down opponents
29 37 Morton (Ill.) 18-4-5 Will battle ND for Peoria supremacy
30 40 Young 11-5-3 A team on the rise
31 42 Warren 15-5-2 Lucas Ahonen influences young squad
32 NR Evanston 13-6-2 Fast, athletic attack for Wildkits
33 3 Stevenson 22-1-3 Look to reload off state finals run
34 38 Sacred Heart-G 25-3-1 Challenger for Class A title
35 NR WW South 8-6-3 Impressed during the summer
36 32 West Aurora 15-4-5 Young, talented and potentially explosive
37 46 Round Lake 11-4-3 Perennial threats ready to make noise
38 28 Althoff 28-2-0 2-time A finalist craves another run
39 30 Collinsville 17-4-3 Ready for a top campaign
40 25 Triad 21-4-0 Looks to regroup & continue success
41 44 Normal W 18-5-2 Figures to continue strong run
42 NR St. Charles North 9-6-4 Great potential if offense develops
43 45 Moline 16-4-1 Champions Quad Cities hopes
44 NR Boylan 18-4-1 Rockford's finest, AA threat
45 41 Lake Zurich 12-5-2 Rock solid program hungry for more
46 NR Streamwood 10-8-4 Features compelling offensive pieces
47 43 Champaign C 20-3-2 Emerging power in AA
48 NR Palatine 10-9-2 Late-season run gave indication
49 NR Libertyville 7-9-4 Ready for turnaround campaign
50 48 Lemont 14-4-7 5 returning starters will lead