Hall of Fame coach Brian Papa is coaching soccer at Lincoln-Way East this season, five months after he was dismissed as boys soccer coach.
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Lincoln-Way East High School, 201 Colorado Ave, Frankfort, IL 60423-1395, USA
Plainfield North High School, 12005 S 248th Ave, Plainfield, IL 60585-7800, USA
Plainfield High School, 24120 W Fort Beggs Dr, Plainfield, IL 60544-1833, USA
Lane Technical High School, 2501 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60618-5991, USA
The school then said it was changing the direction of the program and let Papa go
The district initially suspended Papa with pay from his other two coaching positions (girls basketball and girls soccer) at the school, but he was reinstated before the 2012 season.
High expectations: With nine starters and 18 returnees from a 17-3-2 team, there's no question this is the best Plainfield North team ever — at least on paper.
"We can realistically be in the mix of teams contending to win a sectional and play for a state title," Plainfield North coach Jane Crowe said. "There are so many talented teams in our area and sectional, so it all comes down to who is playing well at the end of the season.
"We have a very talented group of players. So if we can put everything together at the right time, a trip to state is definitely a realistic goal."
Callie O'Donnell (24 goals, 20 assists) and Ashley Handwork (21 goals, 13 assists) are two players to watch.
But if you're looking for a family touch, look no further. Plainfield North features five sets of sisters this season. Seven of those 10 were in the starting lineup this week.
She's back: Plainfield Central's Brigid Hanley returns for her senior season after missing the last two seasons with ACL injuries to each knee. Hanley was named the freshman female athlete of the year for District 202 three years ago.
He said it: "We will be able to compete with the top teams this spring." — Wheaton North coach Tim McEvilly.
Early season tests: Lane coach Mike Wasielewski continues to push his program to new levels.
The Indians opened the season Monday with a 2-1 loss to Waubonsie Valley, then fell to Plainfield North 3-0 on Tuesday. In 17 years of covering high school soccer, I can't recall the last time a Public League girls soccer team opened a season with a tougher one-two punch than Lane did this week.
"The only way you get better is to play better opponents," said Wasielewski, whose team was 18-4-1 last season.
Keep an eye on Lane midfielder Sofia Pavon this spring. The freshman is a National Team prospect for her age group.
The magic touch: Fifteen years ago, Todd Elkei started the Crete-Monee girls soccer program from scratch. A few years later the Warriors were competing with the best teams in the south suburbs.
Elkei eventually moved to Homewood-Flossmoor, where he helped revive the Vikings' girls program and turn it into a state contender once again.
Now in his second year at Lockport, Elkei is excited about his team's chances this spring.
"We have everyone back from last year, and we added four players that played club last season," Elkei said. "We have the potential to be very good."
Lockport returns 10 starters from a squad that was 13-6 in 2011.
Did you know? Young's Mia Espino recently played with the under-20 Guatemala Women's National Team for the CONCACAF final qualification tournament for the 2012 FIFA U-20Women's World Cup. The event took place March 1-11 in Panama. The junior plays club for Eclipse Select.
Email Joe Trost at firstname.lastname@example.org