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Game story: Froebe comes up big off bench, helps Wheaton North to comeback win over Lake Park

By Bill McLean, 10/11/23, 9:45PM CDT


Senior Simon nets goals in Falcons 2-1 win in DuKane Conference finale

WHEATON — Wheaton North reserve sophomore Ryder Froebe was convinced he wouldn’t see action in the
second half of Tuesday night’s DuKane Conference finale against visiting Lake Park.

And not just because he hadn’t played a second in the first 40 minutes.

“We were down 1-0,” recalled Froebe, a midfielder who had played only a combined 10 minutes — garbage time, mostly — of varsity ball since his midseason call-up. “There was no way I’d get to play.”

Falcons coach Joe Klingelhoffer had a different idea.

“Get warmed up,” the coach told Froebe after conferring with his three assistants at the break.

Froebe started the second half and jump-started the hosts with his first varsity assist in the 73rd minute of Wheaton North’s
stunning 2-1 win at Rexilius Field. Falcons senior forward Josh Simon converted the helper and then netted the clincher four
minutes later off a feed from another reserve, senior back Yusuf Habeeb.

“We struggled in the first half,” Klingelhoffer said. “We needed a spark. We needed something. While talking with my
assistants at the half, I asked, ‘What do you think about going with Ryder?’ They all expressed confidence in him.

“We all know Ryder is a good player. He had scrimmaged with, and against, varsity players and kept pace with them.”

The triumph on home turf halted the losing skid of the Falcons (3-11-1, 2-5-0) at five matches.

“Scoring that first goal tonight was cathartic, such a relief,” said Klingelhoffer, adding his squad hadn’t scored since its 3-1
defeat of host Batavia on Sept. 19. “Long time coming, for sure. You saw how excited the guys were. It had been tough on them in the first half tonight, missing some of the sitters they had.

“As soon as we scored, I’m thinking, ‘Okay, let’s get another.’ And that’s what we did. I’m overjoyed for the guys.”

Lake Park (6-14-1, 1-6-0) opened the scoring in the sixth minute via a sequence featuring angles sharper than Superman’s jawline.

Lancers sophomore midfielder Andrew Donato delivered a 40-yard cross-pitch service to senior forward Michael Chioros, who then settled the ball about 15 yards from Wheaton North senior goalkeeper Joe Wakeman (six saves).

Chioros hammered a right-footed shot, from what appeared to be an impossible angle, to the far post. It curled in. Had
geometry teachers been present, they would have simultaneously jumped for joy and lost their protractors.

“I scanned the field and made a cut,” Donato said of his pre-assist actions.

“Great pass,” Chioros said of what set up his second goal of the season.

Neither team would hit twine for the next 67 minutes. Simon, a fiery, relentless competitor, then went to work. After receiving Froebe’s 15-yard pass from a sideline spot, Simon dribbled ferociously before blasting a 20-yard, near-post shot past Lancers freshman keeper Anthony Cruz (eight saves).

“Nice assist. Thank you, Ryder,” said Simon, a Chicagoland Soccer All-State Watch List selectee and the Man of the Match.
“Ryder moves better than most, and he’s got great awareness, He’s always where he should be.”

Simon ran harder and shot harder a mere four minutes later. He even used his forehead, while in full-sprint mode, to control
his rush that ended just outside the top of the 18. The ensuing shot, another near-post fastball, drew a roar from the home

Simon’s late brace upped his team-best goal total to seven.

“When you don’t protect a lead, you pay the price,” Lake Park coach Mike Bruckner said. “That’s what happened to us. The
advantage we had (with seven minutes left) should have been enough for us to leave here with a win.

“I was pleasantly surprised with our passing in the first half. We did decent stuff in the first half.”

Lancers sophomore back Lucas Boebel was better than decent. He disrupted crosses, throw-ins and seemingly promising Wheaton North forays. His deflection of a powerful shot by Falcons forward William Bonga, a 6-foot-3 senior, resulted in
an easy Cruz save in the 34th minute.

Lake Park junior midfielder Danny Chukurov popped for a head clear off a corner kick three yards in front of Cruz with 45
ticks left in the first half.

“We played unbelievably well in the first half,” Donato said. 

“Second half,” a bewildered Chioros added, “I don’t know what happened to us. Everybody on the field for us in the first half showed good chemistry. Everybody was giving such a good effort.

“I don’t know what happened to us in the second half,” he repeated.

Shots on goal from Wheaton North’s Habeeb, Bonga and Edgar Carmona in the second half heightened the precariousness of
the visitors’ 1-0 lead.

At the 62-minute mark, Boebel suffered an injury to his left knee and did not return. Bruckner reported afterward that
Boebel had knocked knees with a Falcon. The start of Simon’s dynamic two-goal show commenced 11 minutes later.

“Big win for us,” Simon said. “We plan to build off it.”

Klingelhoffer, meanwhile, intends to savor a certain assist for a while.

“Ryder’s pass to Josh was slotted well,” the coach said.

Lake Park completed its regular-season Tuesday night. Wheaton North closes its season when it hosts Leyden — ranked no. 9 in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25 — at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Lake Park and Wheaton North open playoff action in West Chicago Sectional play-in matches on Saturday. Fifteenth-
seeded Lake Park hosts no. 18 Bartlett at 4:30 p.m. at its East campus as part of the Geneva Regional. Wheaton North received the no. 16 seed and will welcome 17th-seeded Willowbrook into Schaumburg Regional action at 6 p.m.

Forgive Klingelhoffer if he gets nostalgic. He played soccer at Willowbrook and, like Froebe, got promoted to the varsity in his sophomore season.

Klingelhoffer later scored the first goal in Willowbrook’s 3-0 defeat of Proviso West in a postseason play-in match.


Bruckner, a first-year varsity coach like Klingelhoffer, played soccer at Downers Grove North (Class of 2004). He was a
sophomore on the Vikings’ 2001 team that lost a 2-0 state quarterfinal to eventual state champion Sandburg. … Klingelhoffer, on what has changed in his life since being named to succeed Rob Stassen in June: “I check my emails more.” Stassen, who still teaches at Wheaton North, coaches under-level soccer at Barrington.

Starting lineups

Lake Park
GK Anthony Cruz
D Lucas Boebel
D Dominick Nash
D Patrick Swacha
MF Jonny Ademi
MF Danny Chukurov
MF Andrew Juarez
MF Andrew Donato
MF Ethan Su
F Kuba Nowicki
F Michael Chioros

Wheaton North
GK Joe Wakeman
D Jackson Galbraith
D Gabe Brada
D Jamison Sleper
MF Bradley Powell
MF Carter Evans
MF Brady Blasucci
MF Julian Ospina
MF Alex Leon
F William Bonga
F Josh Simon

Chicagoland Soccer Man of the Match: Josh Simon, sr., F, Wheaton North

Scoring summary

First half
Lake Park — Chioros (Donato), 6’

Second half
Wheaton North — Simon (Ryder Froebe), 73’
Wheaton North — Simon (Yusuf Habeeb), 76’