MUNDELEIN — It was late in the first half. Carmel’s boys soccer team was playing its worst game of the season, losing 4-1 to Mundelein on Sept. 3.
Corsairs coach Ray Krawzak had a message to deliver to his lethargic team. He sought out his captain, senior Adam Cloe.
“I don’t like to do a lot of screaming from the bench,” Krawzak said. “I pulled (Cloe) to basically instruct him to what the changes were going to be.”
The fact that Krawzak chose to use Cloe as his emissary is more significant than the memo itself (Krawzak was benching the starting defense in a 7-2 loss). It revealed a level of trust that has been awarded to a player who desires the responsibility.
“A lot guys will listen to me. If they hear it from me, they will listen to it,” Cloe said.
Why should they listen? For one, Cloe is Carmel’s best player. An attacking midfielder, he brings a fullback’s mentality to the soccer pitch. Skilled with the ball at his feet, Cloe has a high work rate, with an ability to maintain a fast pace while dribbling around and through defenders. A strong 5-foot-8, 155 pounds, he is a physical presence who can absorb contact while keeping possession.
This past club season, from November through July, Cloe played with Libertyville FC 74. Over the summer, he was asked by coach Robert Meschbach to play with the U-23 team, a roster filled with college players.
“I thought it would be a great learning curve for him to mix it up. It’s a little faster game,” Meschbach said. “He was always at practice. Overall, he has good upside, someone who likes the game and strives to learn more.”
While playing club, Cloe was preparing for his final high school season. Every other day over the summer, along with senior Evan Potter, Cloe would rise at 6 a.m. The teammates would drive to Lake Forest Beach not to sunbathe, but to work out. They’d run the stairs for cardio, then lift weights at a gym before playing soccer in the afternoon and evening.
A fit body improves the mind, according to Cloe, making him feel extra confident when he takes the field.
“It’s not like an arrogance, but I’ve worked harder than guys I’m going against,” Cloe said. “You can focus on your touches and not being exhausted because you have that endurance capacity.”
All of this — playing above his peer group, grueling summer workouts, natural talent — adds up to Cloe being the Corsairs’ unquestioned leader. If Cloe’s coach pulls him aside during a game to whisper something in his ear, the exchange is a product of trust that has been earned.
“I like being the first to know about things,” Cloe said. “It’s cool to have input and trust in my soccer judgment to leave things up to me.”