It was supposed to be Sam Fodor’s breakout season, but it’s turning out to be a heartbreaking one.
Fodor, the OPRF boys soccer team’s senior captain who was gaining interest from colleges, tore his ACL a few weeks ago during a summer league game. He’s out indefinitely, leaving a gap for OPRF head coach Paul Wright to fill.
“Sam was the leader of the OPRF One Soccer Club Team and had the strong potential to play at the next level and for a variety of schools. He put a ton of hours in this off-season to improve his touch and finesse,” said Wright of his defenseman. “It is going to be hard to replace him and the chemistry he had in the backfield.”
Wright will have to rely heavily on returning defensive starters Kelly Foran and Josh Levy. Sam Euler, who earned the nickname “The Glove” for his play during the playoffs last season, will likely take on full-time goalkeeper duties.
Seniors Jordan Golz and Chris Fitch will again anchor the offense for the Huskies. Golz, who scored nine goals and dished out a team-high 13 assists last season, is switching to forward. Fitch will coordinate efforts as center midfielder. Alex Gebert also returns to the lineup this season.
With only a handful of returning starters, Wright will no doubt be dipping into a large pool of young talent. Transfer student-athletes from both Fenwick and St. Ignatius, along with a few freshmen, will likely play a role as well, but Wright was hesitant to name names just yet.
“We had a lot of new kids at camp, so it’s a wait and see thing,” he said. “There was also one of the largest group of freshmen at camp. We will just have to see if they can compete at the top level of high school soccer.”
The Huskies will need all the help they can get with a difficult schedule this year. Whitney Young and St. Ignatius were added to the mix in order to get an idea of what to look for come sectional time. OPRF will close out the regular season with a game against New Trier on Oct. 15. The Trevians won the Class 3A State Championship last season.
But between now and October, the Huskies will take on some tough teams and compete in some difficult tournaments, including the very popular Pepsi Showdown that will begin Sept. 8. The Huskies, who fell to Libertyville in the Sweet 16 of the tournament last season, host Kelly that day.
“That tournament will answer some questions for us real quick,” said Wright of the Pepsi Showdown.
The Huskies, who finished 11-10-2 overall last year, open the season at the Leyden Tournament on Monday. They take on Riverside-Brookfield in the opening round and the host on Aug. 26. The team’s home opener will be played against Whitney Young on Sept. 4 at 5:30 p.m. An upcoming night game under the recently-installed lights at Oak Park Stadium was still in the works when this story went to press.
Wright said this season’s team reminds him of the 2005 squad that had a few setbacks to start the season but then went on to win 12 straight games.
“I feel pretty good about this bunch and I am sure we will make our own luck,” he added.