Drew Golz and his 15 goals may be gone, but OPRF head soccer coach Paul Wright will be counting on another Golz to lead the Huskies this season.

Jordan Golz, the younger brother of Drew, who recently earned a spot on the Air Force Academy soccer team-he’s also expected to play baseball-is the lone returning starter from a team that went 15-6-2 overall last season and won the West Suburban (Silver) Conference championship for the second straight year.

“The funny thing is the two brothers couldn’t be more different in their style of play,” said Wright. “Jordan is a center midfielder so his responsibilities are different than what Drew’s were as a forward, but Jordan is a quick decision-maker. While he’s smaller than his older brother, Jordan is just as strong and has real good vision for potential opportunities.”

Jordan scored four goals last season, while Drew broke the school’s record for career goals with 50, scoring a team-high 15 on the season. Robert Hargadon held the previous record with 46 goals in his high school soccer career between 2001-05.

“It’ll be difficult to replace those 15 goals this season, but we have some real good talent and skill on this team,” said Wright, who is entering his fourth season as head coach. “It’s going to take us some time to get going and to get acclimated. We’ll have 10 new players on the field, so the chemistry will take some time.”

Wright will rely heavily on Vida Durazo, Kevin Kearns and John McGillen, who all played sparingly on varsity last season. Two newcomers that are expected to make a significant impact are juniors Alex Gebert and Christopher Fitch.

“Gebert and Fitch will play a central role in our progress,” said Wright. “They are expected to land in a midfield spot somewhere.”

OPRF’s first order of business, according to Wright, is winning its third consecutive conference title, a goal that will again not come easy. Hinsdale Central returns most of its squad that finished fourth at the Class AA State Finals, including Jeffery Graham who led the Red Devils with 10 goals during the regular season.

The Huskies will also be looking to get past the sectionals, something they haven’t done in the last three years. They were knocked out of the postseason last year by none other than conference rival Hinsdale Central.

“We won’t to finish off the season better, there’s no question,” said Wright. “In the recent past, we’ve been going out one-goal losses and that’s tough to take.”

Wright added he’s looking for his team to return to the Elite Eight portion of the Pepsi Showdown, a premier, 32-team tournament set to kick-off on Sept. 9. The Huskies travel to Lane Tech to take on the host in their tournament opener (3:45 p.m.).

OPRF kicks off the season at the Leyden Tournament on Monday.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...