After breaking out during their freshman season with the Rock Valley College men’s soccer program, Rochelle players Luis Marquez and Atl Flores each stepped up over their sophomore campaign with the Golden Eagles this past year.
Rock Valley College finished 9-7 overall after going 6-9-1 over the 2017 campaign. Marquez started 15 games for the Golden Eagles, totaling two assists, two shots on goal and 18 shots at the defensive back position. Marquez said his ability to become a better playmaker on defense allowed him to have a larger role on the team this past season.
“I feel like I became a better leader,” Marquez said. “I wasn’t sure I was capable of being a leader until my coach pushed me to take charge and demand the ball. My sophomore year was amazing, and I made so many improvements. I enjoyed every minute I was on the field with my teammates.”
Flores started 16 games for the Golden Eagles, recording two goals, seven assists, 29 shots and 10 shots on goal at the midfield and forward position. While Flores said he was disappointed with his second-year performance, he said playing for the Golden Eagles allowed him to continue playing a sport that has led him to most of his friends.
“I really learned how to manage my time wisely, whether it was in class or on the pitch,” Flores said. “There were a lot of great talents on the team and also in our conference. I will miss the bond we shared, and I enjoyed the determination and commitment each player made to be in school and play soccer for Rock Valley College.”
With his athletic career at Rock Valley College over, Marquez said he plans to stay for two years so he can complete his automotive service technology degree in hopes of landing a job in Rochelle or the Chicagoland area. He also said he plans to pursue a business degree and hopefully play soccer at either Northern Illinois University or Saint Xavier University. Flores said he will aim to finish his associate’s degree.
“I enjoyed everything about competing collegiately,” Marquez said. “I feel like the practices and the time I spent with the team allowed me to build an unbreakable bond with my teammates. For me, the players were the most enjoyable part of the sport for me and I’m going to miss playing with them the most.”