Jacobs’ 2017 boys soccer season wound up being quite similar to its season from 2016.
The Golden Eagles finished 16-7-2 – after going 16-5-4 the previous year – with many of the same players and again won a Class 3A sectional championship. The Fox Valley Conference title eluded Jacobs, which tied with Prairie Ridge for second, two games behind Dundee-Crown, but the Eagles were the first area team since Marian Central (Class A in 2000 and 2001) to win back-to-back sectionals.
Another similarity is that Eagles coach A.J. Cappello and forward Noah Melick repeated as Northwest Herald Coach and Player of the Year.
Cappello was selected by the sports staff with input from area coaches. Dundee-Crown coach Rey Vargas and Woodstock coach Matt Warmbier also received consideration after taking their teams to unbeaten regular seasons.
Northwest Herald senior sports writer Joe Stevenson asked Cappello about a meaningful sports moment, funny interactions with referees and other things.
What sports moment was so huge that you’ll always remember where you were when it happened?
Cappello: When the White Sox won the World Series in 2005, I was actually in college on the South Side. We were hanging out on Western Avenue, and after Bobby Jenks closed the game, people flooded the streets and mayhem proceeded.
If you played baseball, what would be your walk-up music?
Cappello: “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC.
What’s one of your biggest pet peeves?
Cappello: In coaching, it’s when I ask a player how a game went and they reply with the result or their stats from the game.
If you could coach any soccer team in the world, which one would it be?
Cappello: The Old Lady, Juventus.
What is the last really good movie you saw in a theater?
Cappello: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” that will soon change.
Which one of your players do you find really inspiring?
Cappello: Dan Buirge, he always keeps me honest and ensures that I have thought through our trainings. I could always tell through his work rate if I put a good session together.
What is your routine on game days?
Cappello: I’m not one to believe in superstitions, because to me it implies I’m not in control of what’s going to happen. I typically put together my game plan during lunch on game day, so I have the rest of the afternoon to reflect.
What’s the funniest thing you ever said to a referee?
Cappello: Appropriate? In the supersectional game at St. Charles this year, the referee asked me where our trainer was after one of our players was injured. I replied with “Do we look like a football team?” It generated a good laugh in a tense moment.
What is the best Christmas present you ever received?
Cappello: The original Nintendo. I must have been about 6 and in the first grade.
Who was the last musical act you saw live?
Cappello: Kings of Leon and Nathaniel Rateliff this summer.