Naperville Central’s Sean Flading answers call in tie with Hinsdale Central

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NAPERVILLE — Naperville Central senior Sean Flading hasn’t been a midfielder since playing in park district leagues as a youth.

The starting defender was caught off guard when Naperville Central coach Troy Adams moved him to the midfield halfway through the first half of Saturday’s game against Hinsdale Central.

“It was difficult,” Flading said. “I’m not very comfortable in there, so it took a lot of direction from the rest of the team. I had no idea I was going to be bumped up and I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think [Adams] was talking to me at first. He always tells us we need to be able to play multiple positions, but it never got to the point where I had to before.”

Flading may not have been comfortable, but he still managed to score the Redhawks’ lone goal shortly after switching positions in a 1-1 tie between the two ranked teams.

“Sean is the type of player that you put him anywhere and he’s going to be successful,” Adams said. “He just works and works and works. I felt we needed a spark and a little bit of energy. He plays with a tremendous amount of heart. I told the team we all need to play with the same kind of heart and desire.

“Sean is a good kid and the one you want your son to grow up to be like. He does everything the right way. He has a great personality and is a shining example of what we want the program to be.”

Naperville Central junior forward Neal Hasan sent a perfectly-placed pass in front that Flading headed into the back of the net to put the Redhawks (7-1-3) ahead 1-0 with 6 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the first half.

Hinsdale Central (6-2-2) quickly answered when senior midfielder Jack Baderman headed in a corner kick from Michael Usher with 3:15 left in the half.

Neither team managed to score the rest of the way, despite numerous opportunities by the Red Devils.

“After having the run of the play in the first half, it was disappointing to find ourselves [down] 1-0,” Hinsdale Central coach Mike Wiggins said. “There wasn’t a lack of confidence. The guys knew they were playing good soccer and creating chances. We’ve shown an ability to respond.”

Naperville Central also had a chance late when standout forward Jordi Heeneman dribbled in deep only to be snuffed out by Hinsdale Central defender Evan Floersch.

“I find [Heeneman] to be one of the best players in the area, but in my mind, Evan could be one of the best single one-on-one defenders in the state, period,” Higgins said.

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