By Bob Narang 

@PrepSportsRep – 

Nathan Lara is ready for a challenge. 

The St. Laurence midfielder is one of the key cogs for a team looking to make some waves this fall. 

A four-year varsity player, Lara wants the Vikings to build on last season’s run to the Class 2A sectional semifinals. The senior is one of six returning starters also excited to make their mark in the program’s first appearance at the BODYARMOR Series – Boys Soccer (Chicago). 

The prestigious event, which features more high schools at one site on back-to-back days than any other in the world, is a big stepping stone for Lara and Co. 

“I’m excited about how much exposure players are going to get being identified by college coaches,” Lara said. “It will be a great opportunity to those who need a little more help to get to the next level.  

“This will be a good experience to face teams that this soccer program has never faced in its history before. I’m looking for my team to continue the nice brand of soccer that we play.” 

St. Laurence coach Jaime Alonso, who played in the BODYARMOR Series when he attended Chicago’s Whitney Young High School, pointed out that his team is ready for the challenge of competing against top-tier programs after winning 17 games in 2021. 

“Last year was a high mark for us,” said Alonso, who played NCAA soccer at UIC. “The program has been trending upward since we went downstate a couple years ago.  

“We have loads of talent, so I wanted to give my kids that experience of playing in the BODYARMOR Series. We’ve never been in it. It’s great exposure, and it truly can open up a lot of doors for players looking to play in college.” 

Lara is focused on many aspects of his game to become a well-rounded player. He has lofty goals — individual and team — that includes winning every home game and collecting as much “silverware that we possibly can.” 

“My attitude on the pitch is definitely motivating others,” Lara said. “Staying positive and having the right mental approach are so important, because I know my teammates feed off of my energy that I display on the pitch.” 

Bio on reporter: Bob Narang has been covering prep recruiting and sports for the past 28 years. His work also appears in the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and the DeKalb Daily Chronicle.