Isaac Odisho can come through under pressure.
Two weeks ago, in the 10th round of penalty kicks in the semifinals for the National Premier Leagues Finals, the midfielder for the U15 Sockers FC boys soccer team delivered the goal that sent his team to the finals and continued the Sockers’ undefeated season.
“Personally, that’s my most memorable soccer moment I’m always going to look back to,” said Odisho, a Skokie resident.
Even though the team only practiced penalty kicks once “for 15 minutes” this season, according to Sockers coach Oleg Vatchev, Odisho knew what to do in that big spot. He aimed for the lower right corner, kicked the ball and the goalie guessed incorrectly. The shot ended a game that was scoreless for 100 minutes and 8-8 through 19 penalty kick shooters.
The Sockers then lost in the title game to New York’s BW Gottschee 5-3 in penalty kicks in Greensboro, North Carolina. The loss wrapped up Odisho’s strong club season.
Odisho has played soccer for eight years, but in his first season with the talented Sockers, who played in a competitive Northern Illinois Soccer League, he saw his game improve. He played in 25 games for the team this spring and summer.
Odisho and Vatchev said Odisho learned more about the game, increasing his soccer IQ and positioning. By Odisho’s own account he also became a better defender, which is a key aspect of being a midfielder. Vatchev said that Odisho is a good passer, someone who can see the field and set up forwards for goals, and that he is coachable and relentless.
“He’s a very hard worker,” Vatchev said. “During the games, there were situations that were very hard for some players from physical technical points or tactical, and I’m sure it was hard for him too, be he never quit.”
The near future may present multiple opportunities for Odisho. Last year, he played on Niles North’s varsity soccer team as a freshman, and he plans to either return to the Vikings or play for the Sockers’ U16 academy team — a squad that plays at the top level of club soccer in the country — if he gets an invite.
“His dream is to become a soccer player,” said Alex Odisho, Isaac Odisho’s father. “I know that’s kind of hard, but I’m going to let him dream. He’s pretty good.”
Isaac Odisho wants to play Division I soccer and perhaps play in the pros.
“It’s just that I love the game so much,” Isaac Odisho said, “I want to play for the rest of my life.”
Isaac Odisho helped his U15 Sockers FC boys soccer team advance to the National Premier Leagues Finals championship game by striking the decisive penalty kick in the semifinals. | Photo courtesy Malcom Proudfoot
This story has been changed to reflect the following correction:
The name of the team that Isaac Odisho plays for was misstated. It is Sockers FC, not FC Sockers.