By Joe Trost

Since 2015, the Manteno boys soccer program has won 73 percent of its games.

But after graduating 12 players, can the Interstate 57 program continue its winning ways this fall?

Let’s take a closer look at Manteno’s preseason outlook presented by Monical’s Pizza in Manteno.

Head coach: Justin Emerson, fifth season, 73-27-2 career record.

Recent season results: 2017 – 18-8-1, lost in Class 1A supersectional; 2018 – 21-3, lost in Class 2A regional championship; finished 10-0 in Interstate Eight Conference in 2018.

Top returnees: AJ Gilliam – D, Sr., Storm (club), 25 goals, three assists in 2018; Alec Miller – M, Jr., Indiana Elite (club), four goals, 31 assists in 2018.

Top newcomers: Scotty Eldridge – M, So., Southland (club); Bryce Vorwald – D, So., Southland (club); Drew St. Aubin – F, So., Southland (club).

2019 outlook: “We graduated 12 seniors,” Emerson said. “It’s going to be very difficult to live up to the last couple of years, but we have a hard-working group of young kids who want to get better every single day. Outside of AJ, we graduated our entire back line and keeper. So defensively, which has been our strength for two years, is a major work in progress.”

Keep an eye on: Scotty Eldridge, a talented sophomore ready to open some eyes. He’s a great student in the classroom and also a standout musician as well.

Making A Difference: The program will be taking part in the Manteno Community Clean-up Day in August. There will be a team run with some stops to clean up the town and meet with town officials.

College-bound player: AJ Gilliam (undecided).

Did you know? In its lone IHSA state final appearance, Manteno lost to Gibault 2-1 in four overtimes in the 2007 Final Four. Gibault went on to win the Class A state trophy the next day. 

Contact Joe Trost at

Bio on reporter: Joe Trost is an award-winning writer from the Star Newspapers, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and Locally, he is a three-time statewide IHSSCA Media Person of the Year and founder of the PepsiCo Showdown, the largest high school sports series in the U.S. He also is a board member with Buddy’s HELPERS and the creator of the Making A Difference On AND Off The Field campaign.