Out of over one hundred high schools with soccer teams in the Chicago Public Schools, Hancock College Prep’s varsity boys soccer team, coached by Mr. Jimenez and Mr. Quicio, made it to the Premier Division this season. Only eight teams in the city make it to this level. “Hancock is now considered one of the top soccer programs in the city because they’ve qualified for this position,” says Froylan Jimenez, head coach of the boys varsity soccer team and history teacher.
Other schools in this division include Lane, Solorio, and Kelly but do not include the city’s top Selective Enrollment high schools.
“Given that Hancock doesn’t have the facilities to practice at their own field (we have to share the park at Pasteur) makes it a little more difficult, which is all the more credit to our student athletes who have been able to overcome those challenges and get to this point,” emphasizes Coach Jimenez.
Last year, the boys varsity soccer team started in the Second Division. After winning the conference title, they moved up to the First Division. “Other teams,” Coach Jimenez explains, “sometimes take five to six years to get to the Premier Division. Hancock achieved this in one.”
Most of the athletes on the boys varsity soccer team have been on the team since freshman year. “There’s amazing leadership and chemistry by the seniors,” recognizes Coach Jimenez. An unprecedented seven freshman also play on this team with seven seniors.
Senior John Aguirre started playing at Hancock on the junior varsity soccer team as a freshman. He says the team grew with each other as they moved up into varsity. This allowed them to gel as a team.
Senior Frank Saldivar says making it to the city quarter finals during his sophomore year made a big impact on the team’s mentality and helped them his junior year. “Last year we won our conference; we went undefeated, almost had a perfect record.”
Salivar recognizes that “Hancock has been in the shadows of Curie, Kelly, Hubbard and all those schools around here. But now were put on the map. Some team members came in inexperienced. They didn’t have a lot of competitive play, but they adapted quick. We helped them out the whole season.”
Both Saldivar and Aguirre agree that this success is due to lots of mentoring of players from the coaches and of the freshman by the seniors.
“This has taught me to trust my teammates. Last year, I wasn’t like that. This year I learned I have to trust my whole team to make it better,” says Saldivar.
The team hopes to make it through the playoffs and aims to compete for the city and state championships in the next few weeks.
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