Boys Soccer: Salazar earns Interstate 8 First Team honors

Senior Diego Salazar received All-Conference First Team honors in the Interstate 8 this season. (Photo by Marcy DeLille)

Sergeant receives Honorable Mention

ROCHELLE — Rochelle senior forward Diego Salazar aspired to be a more vocal leader for the Rochelle Hub varsity soccer team during the 2023 season. Motivated to communicate better and finish his high school career with a strong senior season, Salazar scored 20 goals and dished out five assists to earn All-Conference First Team recognition in the Interstate 8.

“It’s really special to me because it’s my first time receiving All-Conference and it’s also my last year of high school,” Salazar said. “I thought I became a better communicator on the field and I was more open with my teammates in terms of fixing their mistakes and helping them improve.”

Salazar concluded his high school career as a four-year varsity starter for the Hubs, who won five matches during the 2023 season. The senior forward took a step forward from his junior season, when he received an Honorable Mention from the Interstate 8 after totaling 22 goals and four assists. Salazar finished his four-year varsity career with 49 goals and 17 assists.

“What I enjoyed most about my time with the team was being around my teammates and my coaches,” Salazar said. “We had a good time and we made good memories. We talked a lot and we had a good time. I thought I had a better season than I did last year and I wanted to give it my all because it was my last year of high school. I tried to do the best I could in every game.”

Salazar was one of two Rochelle starters who were recognized by the Interstate 8 this season. Senior Nathan Sergeant received an Honorable Mention for his efforts on the back end during the 2023 season, where the Hubs finished with a 5-13-2 record. With several players from the 2023 roster eligible to return next season, Salazar offered his advice for the returning players.

“My advice would be to never give up and to listen to the coaches,” Salazar said. “If you have something to say, make sure you tell the coaches or the team so everyone knows what to do.”