Ridgewood boys soccer trio relishes bond on state’s top club squad

SHARE Ridgewood boys soccer trio relishes bond on state’s top club squad

Edi Antal, Adam Yaghmour and Alex Sobieraj are in the minority on their FC United team.

The three soccer players from Ridgewood all played important roles when their U18 squad won the state cup this year, yet each said they felt intimidated when they initially joined one of Illinois’ top club teams.

Yaghmour, a 2014 Ridgewood graduate, was first to join FC United in his sophomore year.

“It was hard to mesh with a bunch of kids who had been growing up with each other for a long time,” said Yaghmour, who is primarily an outside midfielder for FC United. “A lot of kids go to the same high school [New Trier], so they’ve been playing together for a long time. It was hard at first, but once [Antal and Sobieraj] came on I always had someone to pass with, I always had someone to talk to about stuff from our school … It was cool to have them join.”

Antal, a senior-to-be at Ridgewood, and Sobieraj officially joined FC United this year after playing for Wisla.

Having Yaghmour as an established piece of the squad has been a huge asset for the newcomers to help them integrate with the team.

Yaghmour introduced Antal and Sobieraj to the other FC United players early on. Sobieraj, a 2014 Ridgewood graduate, said that helped him feel like he belonged.

“My first day, I didn’t think I’d do very well against these people because I felt kind of inferior, being the new person,” said Sobieraj, a midfielder. “But now I got to know the guys — we went to Las Vegas to play in a tournament, won the state cup and now I feel pretty tight with them. It’s pretty great.”

Antal, who first started practicing with FC United as a sophomore, added that Yaghmour also provided insight into their teammates’ styles of play.

Yaghmour identified which players were best at using their speed to run onto passes, for example, as well as which were more technical and liked receiving the ball at their feet.

Having that kind of knowledge was important for Antal, a defender for FC United.

“He told me a lot about the guys,” Antal said. “It just helped out so much having him there.”

Earlier this month, FC United won its first state cup in Yaghmour’s three years with the squad.

With the 4-0 win over FCX on June 4 — in which Sobieraj scored the fourth goal — FC United advanced to the 2014 U.S. Youth Soccer Region II Championships in Beavercreek, Ohio, which runs from June 21-25. FC United is in the same group as top teams from Minnesota, Michigan and Kansas and a berth in the national championships is at stake at the region tournament.

FC United lost its first two games and is scheduled to play Force FC from Michigan on Monday.

The three Ridgewood students all spoke glowingly about the experience of winning the state cup. They agreed that earning it was more special because they were able to share the experience with each other.

“We have a connection from Ridgewood,” Antal said. “It made it way more fun.”

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