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Poll: Chicagoland Soccer Top 25 (Week 1)

By Patrick Z. McGavin , 03/18/24, 12:00PM CDT



Working off a thread from last week, the rich get richer.

It is an axiom of sports that the best teams usually feature  the best players. One of the striking aspects of the new season, which took just days to prove the point, is the infusion of club-talent now filling out the top ends of the best teams.

Taking an example from the top, Chicagoland Soccer Top 25 no. 1 Metea Valley had four club players reshape the top of its already deep roster that now features eight college recruits.

Senior newcomer and Division I Austin Peay signee Kaylee Hansen made her high school debut against Oswego on Tuesday and scored to spark a 2-1 victory.

”I actually heard from my dad that she was joining the team, which was great, because we’ve been wanting her to come out for a couple of years now,” forward Lucy Burk said.

And so it goes.

With the formal unveiling of the Top 25, the exclusive poll of the best teams in the main coverage area of Chicagoland Soccer, the time never felt so ripe to survey the best and the brightest.

One week in, Metea Valley, New Trier, Lockport, York and Glenbrook South are showing the impact of elite talent.

York scored 18 goals in three shutouts wins in the City-Suburb Connect Invitational. New Trier also posted three very impressive shutouts. Lockport defeated Glenbrook South in an early season, instant classic overtime thriller Saturday in the quarterfinals of the Windy City Ram Classic.

The three major local season-opening tournaments — the Windy City Ram Classic, the Kickoff Classic hosted by Wheaton North, and the Rose Augsburg-Drach Invitational in St. Charles — provided illuminating results in the first week.

The games (and the top teams) are only going to get better. At the same time, no team ever won a state championship in the “ides of March.”

Context is everything. In a game framed by the random and the spontaneous, talent, culture and chemistry drive the action.

Each week will continue to pull out the stops and be thrillingly adventurous.

(Editor's note: “Previous,” refers to the team’s ranking in the First 50, with out of Chicago-area teams stripped out. Metea Valley, which was ranked no. 2 behind downstate O’Fallon, is listed here as no. 1, etc.).

Rank Previous Team Record Comment
1 1 Metea Valley 3-0-0 Kaylee Hansen is a dynamic offensive talent
2 2 Barrington 1-0-1 Sarah Sarnowski makes positive early impression
3 4 Lyons 3-0-0 Peyton Israel is a strike-force multiplier
4 5 New Trier 3-0-0 Annie Paden is a free kick and set piece specialist
5 6 Libertyville 1-0-0 Shea Krakowski is a standout midfielder
6 3 Naperville North 2-1-0 Rachael Noren is a serious talent
7 8 Lockport 3-0-0 Emma Czech takes out Glenbrook South
8 11 Glenbrook South 2-1-0 LIndsey Ciss is a superb two-way threat
9 10 Evanston 2-0-0 Sydney Ross powers supercharged offensive start
10 9 Lane 2-0-0 Kristi Sevova makes a physical impact
11 12 St. Charles North 1-0-2 Rian Spaulding opens up the attack
12 13 Lincoln-Way East 3-0-0 Will face rival Lincoln-Way Central in Windy City semifinal
13 14 Lincoln-Way Central 3-0-0 Edges Andrew in Windy City quarterfinal
14 16 Hinsdale Central 3-0-0 Ryann Knapp is a lockdown defender
15 18 St. Charles East 2-0-1 Alli Saviano powers the attack
16 25 Naperville Central 3-0-0 Isabella Brozek helps lead 2-win southern trip
17 23 York 3-0-0 Hannah Meyers is an attacking threat
18 24 Lake Zurich 3-0-0 Bears take out Fremd 3-2
19 30 Glenbrook North 2-0-0 Early showdown with no. 10 Lane on Monday
20 20 Geneva 1-0-0 Keeper Jordan Forbes is tough to beat
21 31 Lake Forest 1-0-0 Ava Walsh is a thrilling two-way standout
22 NR Oak Park and River Forest 2-1-0 Mallie Cassel is an electric talent in space
23 15 Oswego East 2-1-0 Natalie Hamilton solidifies the middle attack
24 22 Crystal Lake Central 1-0-1 Made a statement with tie vs. St. Charles North
25 7 Fremd 0-1-1 Gwen Zimmerman is an elite sophomore

Look out for:  Lincoln-Way West, Conant, Wheaton North, South Elgin, Wheaton Warrenville South, Andrew, Loyola, Hersey, Stevenson, Benet, Neuqua Valley, Highland Park, Warren, Downers Grove North, Plainfield North