Fox Valley Conference
Coach: Mark Olson (11th season)
Last year: 11-9-2, 0-5 FVC, regional champions
Top returners: Luis Lemus, sr., M; Patrick Kingdon, sr., M/F; Tomas Kvapil, sr., M/F; Teddy Price, jr., GK; Sergio Lemus, jr., GK; Riley Conroy, jr., M/F; Oscar Silas, jr., D
Key newcomers: Henry Tucker, sr., M/F; Kyle Ives, jr., D; Jesus Angeles, jr., F; Oscar Leon, jr., F; Jack Warner, jr., F; Isaiah Glaysher, so., M; Sam Carhart, jr., M; Ricky Ayala, jr., D; Michael Madzarac, jr., D; Drake Robinson, so., D
Noteworthy: The Trojans had an up-and-down year last season, going 0-5 in conference but winning a regional and taking McHenry to penalties in a sectional final. The biggest question will be where the offense comes from, as the Trojans will have to replace their two top attacking players from last season, Esteban Angeles and Michael Arenberg.
Crystal Lake Central
Coach: Mark Leverentz (first season)
Last year: 11-7-1, 5-1 FVC Fox champion
Top returners: Aaron Castaneda, sr.; Cade Klusendorf, sr.; Patrick Kinahan, sr.; Ryan Nottoli, sr.; William Sengstock, sr.; Drew Dayton, jr.
Key newcomers: Kareem Castaneda, fr.; Willem Bracher, fr.; Jordan Falco, jr.
Noteworthy: After winning the final FVC Fox division title, the Tigers have a new coach for the second straight season. The Tigers lost four seniors who made All-Area teams last year and now will be thrown into the mix against the former FVC Valley powers.
Crystal Lake South
Coach: Brian Allen (10th season)
Last year: 11-9-4 overall, 3-2 FVC Valley co-champion
Top returners: Andrew Grabowski, sr., F; Nikolas Getzinger, jr., M; Spencer Traub, sr., GK; Ryan Coughlin, so., M
Key newcomers: Adam Greenfield, sr., D; Joey Montalbano, sr., D; Joel Bennett, sr., M; Jose Merida, jr., M; Evan Carlson, fr., D; Alex Canfield, fr., F
Noteworthy: The Gators had an up-and-down 2015 season. They were co-champs in conference but were bounced in a regional final. Grabowski’s production dipped slightly last year because of an injury, but he is one of the area’s most talented strikers and has 28 goals and 18 assists in his career. Getzinger powers the midfield as a box-to-box midfielder with 26 career goals. The Gators lost the most in defense, but will be anchored by Traub, who had a 1.41 goals-against average last year and kept five shutouts.
Coach: Rey Vargas (13th season)
Last year: 12-5-4 overall, 3-2 FVC Valley co-champion
Top returners: Luis Cruz, sr., GK; Jeremy Jareckyj, sr., M; Gerardo Estrada, jr., M; Julian Ajroja, jr., F; Jabari Washington, so., D
Key newcomers: Roland Dearborn, fr., F; Edgar Castillo, jr., D
Noteworthy: The Chargers were disappointed to go out in the regional semifinals last season and will have to replace the 10 goals and 15 assists that came from first-team All-Area midfielder Freddy Martinez. Ajroja, an All-Area second-teamer as a sophomore, is one of the area's most dangerous forwards. "We are a young group, but looking to be competitive," Vargas said. "We will have a strong core of returning players, and we are looking for them to bring the rest of the group along."
Coach: John Gosling (ninth season)
Last year: 12-8-1 overall, 3-3 FVC Fox
Top returners: Doug Stuehler, sr., F; Jose Cruz, sr., M; Braeden Frenette, jr., D
Noteworthy: Gosling likes his depth with 12 returners and a strong class of six sophomores. Stuehler is the leading returning scorer with 11 goals and four assists, while Cruz had eight goals and eight assists. Frenette was a standout as a sophomore starter last year and leads the defensive line.
Coach: Kris Grabner (14th season)
Last year: 15-6-2 overall, 3-2 FVC Valley co-champion
Top returners: Zach Whitaker, sr., M; Aaron Rufner, sr., F; Michael Parks, sr., GK
Key newcomers: Ness Chinoda, jr., F; Axel Solis, so., M
Noteworthy: The Red Raiders were strong defensively last season, giving up multiple goals only four times. There will be holes to fill after the graduation of 11 seniors, but Parks, one of the area’s best keepers, will provide leadership from the back.
Coach: Anthony Capello (seventh season)
Last year: 17-5, 3-2 FVC Valley co-champion, regional champion
Top returners: Noah Melick, jr., F; Colin Walsh, jr., F; Jacob Moser, sr., D; Ethan Pickering, sr., GK
Noteworthy: The Golden Eagles have to replace eight seniors from last year’s regional-winning team, but bring back plenty, as well. Melick was the team’s leading scorer with 18 goals and 10 assists, and is only a junior. The defense will be led by Moser at centerback and Pickering in goal, both starting for their third year.
Coach: Tony Caruso (19th season)
Last year: 19-3-2 overall, 3-2 FVC Valley co-champion, regional and sectional champions
Top returners: James Mulhall, sr., M; Jake King, sr., GK; Alex Lee, sr., D; Zach Ruppenthal, sr., D; Ian Tapia, sr., M; Connor Uhl, sr., M; Justin Rutherford, sr., M; Zach Morris, sr., D; Zach Gorniak, sr., D; Sam Partipilo, sr., M
Key newcomers: Joe Diedrich, jr., M; Jason Mendez, so., F; Alex Fiorita, so., F
Noteworthy: After winning the school’s first sectional title, the Warriors return 10 players with varsity experience. The one they have to replace – 2016 Northwest Herald Player of the Year Luis Beltran – is a big void, but with so much other experience, the Warriors should be primed for another strong season.
Coach: Colin Brice (first season)
Last year: 7-5-10, 3-3 FVC Fox
Top returners: Matthew King, jr., M.; Ryan Barbour, sr., M
Key newcomers: Grant Jensen, so., D; Lucas Rietz, so., D
Noteworthy: The Wolves have a new coach for the second straight season. They also have to replace seven seniors, including their defensive captain.
Kishwaukee River Conference
Coach: Victor Gonzalez (second season)
Last year: 18-3 overall, Big Northern Conference East champion
Top returners: Alfredo Pichardo, sr., M; Alonzo Carrillo, sr., F; Joel Juarez, sr., D; Ismael Albarran, sr., M; Gaby Popoca, jr., M; Alexis Robles, jr., M
Noteworthy: After winning the BNC East last season, the Hornets will be one of the favorites going into the KRC. They bring back top scorer Carrillo (22 goals) and top creator Pichardo (14 assists, 16 goals), who are the captains along with defender Juarez.
Coach: Rob Eastland (19th season)
Last year: 14-8-2 overall, second in BNC East
Top returners: Logan Anderson, sr., M; Drew Calhoun, sr., M.; Todd Dombrowksi, sr., M; Dean Wiersum, jr., F; Will Conroy, jr., M; Keith Adamkiewicz, sr., D
Key newcomers: Michael Grunder, fr., M; Nate Grunder, so., M; Shane Graef, jr., D
Noteworthy: Eastland said he’s excited for the start of the KRC, but the goal for the Skyhawks will remain the same: To compete for the conference title, and, at the worst, finish in the top three, as they have for 10 consecutive seasons.
Coach: Justin Brown (first season)
Last year: 8-12 overall
Top returners: Anthony Diaz, sr., M/F; Richie Macias, so., M; Landon Pfeiffer, jr., M/F/GK; Dylan Trainor, sr., F; Tristan Vance, sr., D/M
Key newcomers: Derek Peters, so., D/M; Zeke Pina, fr., F
Noteworthy: Brown said he’s “hoping our hard work in practice will translate into success during games” as the Indians enter the KRC.
Coach: Casey DeCaluwe (sixth season)
Last year: 5-16-1, fifth in BNC East
Top returners: Brennen Freiberger, jr., M; Kyle Townsend, jr., M; Reed Marshall, jr., GK; Charlie DeLucia, sr., M; Jack Keim, sr., F; Cole Vogt, so., D
Noteworthy: The Rockets are a “mix of young talent as well as some experienced guys playing in big roles,” DeCaluwe said.
Coach: Michael Golda (seventh season)
Last year: 11-12 overall, 1-4 FVC Fox
Top returners: Eric Arias, sr., D; Andy Dominguez, sr., M; Will Maidment, sr., F; John Presisto, sr., D; Matt Shook, sr., D/M; Jared Warmbier, sr., D/M; Ben Woodson, sr., M; Josue Carreno, jr., M; Noah Robey, sr., F/M/D; Kyle Ratway, sr., M/D; Brian Rico, so., D/M; Jose Tolentino, so., GK; Caleb Warmbier, so., M; Hector Reynoso, so., D/M/F; Max Lisowski, so., F/M
Key newcomers: Mathias Sorensen, sr., M; Alan Rico, sr., F/M; Cullen Brown, sr., D; Junior Arias, sr., M; Alex Parker, sr., GK; Tony Cervantes, sr., D; Clode Presisto, jr., D; Angel Arias, fr., D/M
Noteworthy: The Blue Streaks started 7-0 last year but faded later in the season. A move to the KRC will bring new challenges, but Golda said the goal is to be in contention for the first conference title. Woodson will be a leader in the middle of the field as a returning second-year captain.
Coach: Lauren Farley (third season)
Last year: 4-19 overall, 0-6 FVC Fox
Top returners: Mauricio Villanueva, sr.; Alfredo Balleno, sr.; Edder Tapia, sr.
Key newcomer: Damien Alonzo, fr.
Noteworthy: Farley said she expects Tapia to be a big contributor after returning from a torn ACL he suffered in the first week of last season. Goalkeeper AJ Guanci is only a sophomore, but has a year of varsity experience under his belt.
East Suburban Catholic Conference
Coach: Jim Colvin (third season)
Last year: 11-7, 6-3 ESCC
Top returners: Jimmy Colvin, sr., D; Connor Stiscak, sr., M; Sam Guilbeault, sr., M; Jacob Klaus, sr., D; Conrad Majzner, jr., F; Matt Darbro, jr., M; Ian Brzeski, jr., M
Key newcomers: Zachary Simmons, so., F; John Colvin, fr., F; Josh Smith, sr., F
Noteworthy: The Hurricanes started only three seniors last year, but that youth means this year they have nine players coming back who either started or got considerable varsity experience. The biggest gap to fill will be at goalie, where four-year starter Jake Higgins had been a rock. Now the Hurricanes might "need to outscore some opponents as opposed to keeping a clean sheet, which was key to our previous success,” coach Jim Colvin said. They hope the addition of Smith to the forward line, after a season-ending injury in 2014 and spending 2015 with a club team, will bolster the offense.