Soto boys soccer preview presented by LaCoco’s Pizza & Wings

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By Joe Trost

Matt Ribbens experienced a great deal of success as a soccer player in high school (Andrew) and college (Rhode Island).

Today, he’s achieving the same positive results as the head boys soccer coach at Soto in Chicago. In a mere three years at the helm, Ribbens led the program to nearly 50 wins and one state trophy.

Let’s take a closer look at Soto’s preseason outlook presented by LaCoco’s Pizza & Wings in Chicago.

Head coach: Matt Ribbens, fourth season, 42-15-2 career record.

Recent season results: 2018 – 16-8-2, finished 5-1 in conference, Final Four in Class 1A; will be in Public League Premier South this fall.

Top returnees: Daniel Jimenez, Sr., G; Jose Gonzalez, Sr., F; Marvin Lopez, Sr., M; Diego Ortiz, Sr., D; and Nathan Correa, Sr., F.

Top newcomers: Jose Martinez, Fr., D; Cesar Grenandos Jr., D; and Alex Espinoza Fr., M.

2019 outlook: “Overall team wise, we should be at the same strength as we were in 2018,” Ribbens said. “We move up to Class 2A this season due to our success in 2018, so our biggest challenge will be advancing as far as we did in Class 1A (to the Final Four). The program has a great culture and good leadership. The juniors have seen what it takes to be successful on and off the field and are hungry for a state title.”

Keep an eye on: Nathan Correa tends to score goals at the most important times and never stops running. He recorded the game-winner in the Elite Eight last fall.

Making A Difference: Soto took part in Earth Day activities on April 22, picking up garbage and helping enhance the Brighton Park, Gage Park, Back of the Yards, Pilsen and surrounding communities in Chicago.

College-bound players: All still undecided – Daniel Jimenez, Sr., G; Jose Gonzalez, Sr., F; Marvin Lopez, Sr., M; Diego Ortiz, Sr., D; and Nathan Correa, Sr., F.

Did you know? Soto is named after Victoria Soto, a first-grade teacher killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. It becomes the first charter school to play in the Public League Premier Division.

Contact Joe Trost at joetrost@gmail.com.

Bio on reporter: Joe Trost is an award-winning writer from the Star Newspapers, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and ESPN.com. 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.

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