By Jon Woo

When high school girls soccer kicked off in Illinois back in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, there were only two communities in the state that continually produced premier teams year-in and year-out – Naperville and St. Charles.

In the early 2000s, Wheaton, Aurora, Winnetka and a few others joined that club.

But over the past 10 years, Illinois has become a hotbed for college recruiters. While the brand-name year-round clubs such as Eclipse Select, Sockers FC, Windy City Pride and Campton United have aided that cause since the late 1990s, the consistent interest and strength actually have to do more with the rise of mid-tier clubs which in turn have impacted the overall improvement of high school soccer programs throughout the Northern Illinois region and its players.

Take a look at Barrington and now Burlington Central prior to FCX arriving on the scene. Look at Chicago Inter’s impact on numerous programs throughout the Southwest Suburbs or how FC United has been a change agent for every program along the North Shore. The same could be said about Chicago City with Public League programs.  

The PepsiCo Showdown Girls, which kicks off Saturday at Olympic Park in Schaumburg, is a prime example of how strong high school girls soccer is overall throughout Illinois. The event will feature 96 high school programs, more than 200 communities and 2,500+ players in the largest high school soccer tournament in the U.S.

It also will showcase 100s of players set to play in college this fall, along with 100s of future college prospects at the same site on back-to-back Saturdays. Below is a list of a few of the college-bound stars playing in the 16th Annual PepsiCo Showdown:  

Stagg: Ally Mussallem, midfielder, Purdue; Maja Persa, defender, Fort Hays State; Grace Javaras, midfielder, Wisconsin-Parkside; Anna Kois, defender, Moraine Valley; Angelina Kosmas, forward, Illinois Wesleyan

Garcia: Alyssa Zavala, midfield, Olivet Nazarene University

Reavis: Arlette Hernandez, defender, Saint Xavier University

Hinsdale South: Abbi Mazurek, midfielder, Saint Mary’s Minnesota; Kendra Rees, defender, Wisconsin-Stout

Latin: Lily Keiderling, midfielder, Tufts

Minooka: Kennedy Messina, midfielder, UIC; Maddie Morin, forward, North Central

Wheaton Academy: Erin Teevans, forward, Taylor University

Montini: Sonia Finch, Defender, Augustana; Emma Repking, Forward, Olivet Nazarene

Jones: Gabriela Baxtrom, midfielder, Lake Forest College

Maine South: Aly Kilburg, midfielder, Loyola; Maddie Malinowski, midfielder, Walsh

Lake Park: Brianna McAloon, midfielder, North Central College; Zirir Hernandez, midfielder, Alverno College

Willowbrook: Sarah Poirer, midfielder, Monmouth College

Streamwood: Kaila Ford, forward, Clarke University; Michaela Gundersen, midfielder, Benedictine University

Lockport: Stephanie Quigley, midfielder, St. Ambrose; Ally Fischer, forward, Illinois-Springfield; Lauren Pikulski, defender, Moraine Valley.

Libertyville: Morgan Verbeten, midfielder, Carthage College; Allison Tong, defender, MIT

Crystal Lake Central: Madie Rokos, midfielder, Wisconsin-Whitewater

Dundee-Crown: Sam Christensen, forward, Illinois-Springfield

Bloom: Vannesa Lopez, defender, Prairie State College

Riverside-Brookfield: Emily Graham, goalie, Purdue University; Vanessa Fragoso, midfielder, St. Xavier University; Emma Pizana, midfielder, DePauw University

DeKalb: Bella Bettner, forward, Carleton College; Maddie Hill, midfielder, Wisconsin-Oshkosh; Haley Brown, defender, Carroll College; McKenna Wallin, midfielder; Carthage College

St. Charles North: Dmi Petrusha, midfielder, Vermont; Gia Wahlberg, midfielder, Michigan State; Hailey Rydberg, midfielder, Iowa; Cassidy Joyce, midfielder, Minnesota State; Bella Falco, midfielder, Wisconsin-Whitewater

Aurora Central: Anna Dudziak, midfielder, Benedictine University; Shannon LoPresti, forward, Lewis University; Alex Montalbano, goalie, Coe College

Saint Viator: Anna Johnston, goalie, New Hampshire

Bolingbrook: Julia Lentz, goalie, Northern Illinois; Ariana Hopewell, midfielder, Aurora University

Solorio: Cindy Barbosa, defender, Morton College; Pamela Valtierra, midfielder, Morton College

Huntley: Brenna Keegan, forward, Barton College

Herscher: Abbie Kukuck, goalie, Clarke University; Julia Perez, forward, Wisconsin Lutheran

Plainfield South: Ciara Coneset, defender, Central Michigan; Isabel Cerda, forward, Waubonsee College; Amaya Silvar, defender, Benedictine University; Jamie Lee Cooper, forward, Illinois College

Warren: Jamie Kwon, defender, Winona State

Wheaton North: Kailee Sowers, midfielder, Rochester

East Aurora: Marubeni Nieto, midfielder, Robert Morris Unversity

Crystal Lake South: Cam Sengstock, midfielder, Winona State Unversity

TF United: Jasmine Quesada, midfielder Moraine Valley

Lincoln-Way East: Maria Fields, goalie, Benedictine University; Amanda Logan, midfielder, Purdue Northwest

Nazareth Academy: Gigi Trevecca, midfielder, Nashville Trevecca University

Joliet West: Amanda DiNardo, forward, Southern Illinois; Victoria Alvarado, defender, Benedictine University

Farragut: Martha Olague, forward, Robert Morris University; Jeniffer Salto, forward, UIC; Teresa Guzman, defender, Morton College

Glenbard East: Katie Hansen, defender, University of Montana; Faith Davies, goalie, UIC; Mattie Pusateri, defender, Carroll University

Downers Grove North: Abby Swanson, midfielder, Loyola; Carli Nehls, midfielder, Wisconsin-Whitewater; Sandra Grecco, goalie, Lake Forest; Isabella Scarati, defender, Wittenburg University

Plainfield East: Alison Cosola, goalie, St. Ambrose University; Angela Dagnino, midfielder, Illinois-Springfield; Olivia Jenkins, goalie, Xavier

Bulls Prep: Michelle Ulloque, midfielder, Dominican University

Eisenhower: Isis Bejarano, forward, South Suburban

Jacobs: Maddie Belo, midfielder, Carroll College; Caitlin Strong, midfielder, St. Leo University

Wauconda: Jillian Rejczyk, goalie, Trine University

Lane Tech: Jazzmin Jordan, midfielder, Carthage

York: Maggie Levins, midfielder, Lewis University

West Aurora: Riley O’Brien, midfielder, Illinois State; Itzel Ochoa, midfielder, Dominican University; Angela Johnson, midfielder, Aurora University

Fenwick: Lauren Stibich, midfielder, Illinois

Metea Valley: Chesney Wargo, midfielder, Central Michigan; Maeve Riordan, forward, Illinois

Oak Forest: Yasmine Matthews, midfielder, Saint Xavier University

Andrew: Emma Lehnert, defender, Wisconsin-LaCrosse; Sam Termunde, forward, Saint Xavier University; Mia Milazzo, midfielder, Missouri-St. Louis

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