Boys Soccer: Hubs lace up for upcoming fall season

All-Conference defender Whitehead headlines returning players

Russell Hodges
Posted 8/10/21

Versatility will be crucial for the Rochelle Hub varsity soccer team as head coach Brad Male and his boys shoot for their sixth consecutive winning season this fall.

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Boys Soccer: Hubs lace up for upcoming fall season

All-Conference defender Whitehead headlines returning players

Posted

ROCHELLE — Versatility will be crucial for the Rochelle Hub varsity soccer team as head coach Brad Male and his boys shoot for their sixth consecutive winning season this fall.

Rochelle kicked off the 2021 season with its first practice Monday afternoon. While the Hubs were unable to conduct their usual summer conditioning program, Rochelle will look to build on its shortened spring season in which the Hubs finished 6-5-1 overall and third in the Interstate 8 Conference. Rochelle begins the 2021 campaign at the War on 34 Championship.

“It’s nice to be back out here and we’re happy to see a lot of new faces,” Male said. “We’re looking forward to having a full season and we want to keep moving forward from where we left off during the spring… Our expectations are always the same. We want to continue playing 80 solid minutes of soccer in each match. We want to continue to improve as a team.”

The Hubs will have some large shoes to fill in the midfield, where Rochelle lost three starters including Zane Walters, Josh Hurtado and Juan Cincire. Sophomore forwards Diego Salazar and Elijah Luxton each made an impact during their freshman seasons earlier this year, combining for 10 goals and seven assists. Junior Jace Whitehead returns after earning an All-Conference Honorable Mention during the spring. Whitehead spent time on offense and defense.

Senior Bryce Whitehead headlines Rochelle’s returning starters on defense after earning All-Conference First Team recognition for his efforts at center back during the spring. Senior Caleb Ritter took home an All-Conference Honorable Mention this past season and could help the Hubs on defense once again this fall. Junior Jarret Milan will also return in net for Rochelle.

“We moved players around quite a bit during the spring, but I thought we started working together a lot more toward the end of the season,” Male said. “Our back line did a great job of moving the ball forward. We may be changing some players around this season, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. Bryce and Caleb did an excellent job in the back and I’m looking forward to seeing those guys step up and seeing what their roles will be this season.”