He plays the hardest position on the field. Athletic and rangy Morton goalie Ian Chacon developed his skills as part of a family rite, a trial by fire that allowed him to hone his talent.
“It started out with my uncle, my cousins and my brother, they’d come over to the house to play or we’d go out to the park and play and they didn’t have anybody else to put in the goal,” Chacon said. “So they just put me in the goal, and they’d shoot at me as hard as possible.”
Sometimes there would be blood, as Chacon would take hard volleys at close range. Chacon proved himself to be a natural who played the majority in the net, as a freshman, on the Mustangs’ 2011 Class 3A state title team.
Chacon recorded back-to-back shutouts in the state semifinal and title game. “When I was a freshman, I didn’t really know what was going on,” he said. “We got the experience of a lifetime.”
Chacon has been the leader of a team that has won a remarkable 85 games in his career. Last year, Chacon earned first team Chicago Sun-Times All-Area honors. He was a one-man wrecking crew whose combination of speed, agility and quick reflexes helped the Mustangs register an astounding 20 shutouts and allow just 15 goals for a 25-3 Class 3A supersectional qualifier.
He is on the same pace this year. Chacon has posted 12 shutouts for the top-ranked Mustangs (14-1-2). Chacon demonstrated his peerless talent in the championship game of the PepsiCo Showdown Sunday at DePaul by making two highlight reel blocks of penalty kicks against No. 3 Lyons that swung the shootout phase in the Mustangs’ favor.
Chacon allowed just three goals in five games and recorded three shutouts to earn the tournament’s prestigious most valuable player award.
Playing goalie requires a specific mentality, he said, being both fearless and disciplined. Goalies must anticipate how players are going to attack and to try and cut off the angles and narrow the opponents’ field of vision, he said. The position also demands a strong intuition of knowing when to stay or when to make a move off the line.
“I think that’s one of my strongest qualities, is that I know when to come out and when to stay back,” he said.
As the end of the regular season approaches and the start of the state tournament looms, Chacon is asserting his will over the rest of the team.
“One thing I learned about the game is teamwork,” he said. “My freshman year, when we won state, we were united as a team. Sometimes since then, we’ve played more like individuals.
“This year, being a senior and a captain, I try to keep the team together and improve the chemistry, so that we get along on the field and off. We have to take every game one by one, because this is soccer, and strange things happen.
“We have to think about today.”