Young senior Jaime Alonso has always had the physical attributes, blessed with excellent size at 6-2 and superb quickness and speed in the open field.
Soccer is process oriented, and he had to combine physical and mental aspects to become more intuitive and free.
His coach, Ian McCarthy, has called the experiment an unconditional success. “He’s the best player in the city,” McCarthy said.
Alonso has 13 goals for the surging Dolphins, who are unbeaten in their last seven games. The four-year starter is the first to admit the early growing pains have made him the player he is today.
“Coming in as a freshman, the first couple of training sessions, it was a bit overwhelming,” Alonso said. “The captains and the older guys on the team walked me through it or gave me tips, and that really helped me grow as a person and as a player.”
Alonso developed an elemental connection to the game as a kid. As a 10-year old, his father organized a family team composed of his cousins that participated in youth competition. He was discovered by a club coach at Marquette Park, and he developed and refined his game playing club soccer.
From the start he had a precocious and deadly skill with serving long balls, either on free kicks or service balls. That talent has made him one of the most dangerous players around, one who is capable of scoring from anywhere.
“The long shots and the long balls, I’ve had that my whole life,” Alonso said. “When I was little my dad taught me to shoot high, because when you’re that age, most of the gaolies are small and playing in big goals, the first thing he taught me was to shoot high, and that you’re going to score.”
In his varsity career at Young, his role has expanded with each year. With his length and size, he began as a disruptive defender who neutralized other teams’ offensive attacks. By his own admission his best talent is facilitating possession and his deft touch at slotting a through ball.
He is too valuable to the Dolphins’ attack for the back or middle and plays increasingly up top.
“In the first couple of years I felt that scoring really wasn’t on my shoulders,” Alonso said. “Now, coach McCarthy has put me a little higher in the field and I feel like when I’m closer to the goal, I need to take it more personally upon myself to create.”
Alonso wants to play close to home at the next level. DePaul and UIC are the two Division I programs that have expressed the greatest interest. He has taken official visits to both programs. He is also looking at St. Xavier and Domican University in River Forest.
His cherished high school career is nearing its end.
“One thing I would take away from this experience is just being a leader,” Alonso said. “Being a team really does affect how the results come out. The last two years we’ve had a bond, and it has really showed in the results.
“When you have trust, it’s easier to get victories.”