Oakton Men’s Soccer Team Rakes in Postseason Honors
(January 2013) The 2012 Oakton Community College men’s soccer team, under head coach Steve Brody, traveled to a place no other soccer squad in the College’s history has gone before: the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Men’s Division I National Tournament. While Oakton (14-4-1) failed to advance past pool play in the national tournament held in Albany, Georgia in November, 2012, the men’s soccer team raked in the postseason awards.
“We were thrilled to reach the national finals this year,” says Brody. “It was certainly one of our team goals going into the regular season. Our success was a reflection of the dedication, commitment, hard work, and talent of the players on our squad this year.”
The NJCAA Region IV, which consists of teams and players throughout northern Illinois, bestowed individual honors on several Oakton players. Sophomore goalkeeper Daniel Niedzielski (Niles West), who boasted an .838 save percentage on the season, was named as the Region IV Men’s Soccer Player of the Year. Niedzielski also was named to the NJCAA Region IV All-Region First Team, along with freshman forward Jamal Banton (Evanston), who led the team with 29 points (11 goals, 7 assists), freshman midfielder Juan Mendez (Mather), who scored 24 points (12 goals), and sophomore defender Kamil Kalinowski (Taft), who anchored a defense that allowed just 19 goals all season.
In addition, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) named Mendez to its 2012 Junior College Division I Men’s Soccer All-Central Region First Team, recognizing him as one of the top four midfielders in the Midwest.
To advance to the national tournament, the Raiders posted a 2-1 victory over Prairie State College in the NJCAA Region IV Men’s Soccer Championship on November 3. For leading his team to the Region IV title, the NJCAA named Brody Men’s Soccer Coach of the Year.
While Oakton was thwarted in earning its fifth straight Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference championship by Waubonsee Community College, the Raiders finished second in the league with an impressive 6-1 record. The ISCC recognized Banton, Kalinowski, Niedzielski, and sophomore midfielder Arnoldo Reyes as members of its 2012 All-Conference First Team.
“I am proud of the effort everyone on the team put in this year and very excited that some of the individuals were recognized on the conference, regional, and national level,” says Brody. “I’m grateful to all the outgoing players for what they have meant to this program. I hope we can make them proud by continuing the success we enjoyed this year in future campaigns.”
Oakton Men’s Soccer Player Named to Junior College Scholar All-America Team
(January 2013) The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) recently named Oakton Community College men’s soccer player Bobak Khalili to its 2012 Junior College Men Scholar All-America Team. This is the first year the NSCAA has had such a team.
To be considered for the team, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale), start more than 50 percent of his games, and be a significant contributor to his athletic squad. A sophomore defender from Schaumburg, Khalili has a 3.80 GPA while majoring in liberal arts. Khalili was one of only 13 male student-athletes named to the NSCAA’s inaugural scholar-athlete squad.
Khalili anchored a stellar defense that posted six shutouts and allowed just 19 goals during the 2012 season. He also helped lead the Raiders to a 14-4-1 record and to their first appearance in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Men’s Division I National Tournament. In 2012, the Raiders also won the NJCAA Region IV championship and finished second in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference with a 6-1 record.
“Bobby has been an outstanding contributor and leader for our program for the past two seasons,” says Head Coach Steven Brody. “The standard he sets for his fellow teammates, both on and off the field, is exemplary. He has excelled on the field and in the classroom and is a shining example of what being a collegiate scholar-athlete is all about.”
Khalili will receive his award in Indianapolis on January 19, at the NSCAA All-American Luncheon, held in conjunction with the 2013 NSCAA Convention.
Oakton’s Men’s Soccer Aiming for National Championship
(November 9, 2012) The 2012 Oakton Community College men’s soccer team under head coach Steve Brody is going where no other soccer squad in the College’s history has gone – to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Men’s Division I National Tournament, which kicks off November 12 in Albany, Georgia.
The Raiders (14-2-1) qualified for the national tournament by pulling out a 2-1 home victory over Prairie State College (19-3) on November 3, in the NJCAA Region IV Soccer Championship. The team trailed 1-0 at intermission, but scored two second-half goals to advance in the postseason. Freshman forward Jamal Banton tallied the game winner on a corner kick with 5:07 remaining in regulation.
“I was extremely proud of the team’s regional championship,” said Brody. “The Raiders worked hard and the win was well deserved. Now we’ll be competing at an even higher level. It’s nice to qualify for the national tournament, but our goal is to win it all.”
In the national tournament, the Raiders are ranked No. 11 out of 12 teams. The competition consists of four pools, with each one containing three squads. Teams will compete against opponents in their pool on November 12 and November 13. The four pool winners will face off in the semifinals on November 16. The championship game is slated for the following day, November 17.
The Raiders open pool play against No. 2 Monroe Community College, N.Y. (16-0-1), followed by No. 7 Illinois Community College (14-2-1). Brody is confident in his squad.
“When we’re playing well, we can beat anybody,” said Brody. “Our defense is very good and our attack is dangerous. All we have to do is play well.”
Brody noted that the key to advancing in the competition is getting balanced scoring from his offense. Three of his players have tallied more than 20 points on the 2012 season. Banton leads the Raiders in scoring with 29 points (11 goals, seven assists), followed by freshman center Juan Mendez with 24 points (12 goals, 0 assists). Freshman center Jesus Medina is third in scoring with 21 points (five goals, 11 assists).
“We have lots of ‘go-to-guys’ on our offense,” said Brody. “This year has been an impressive team effort.”
Looking to Four-peat
With 21 consecutive matches without a loss in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference, the Oakton men’s soccer team has a perfect blackjack hand. In the upcoming 2011 season, the Raiders look to “bust” when they seek to defend their conference title for the fourth straight year.
“I equate our unbeaten streak to when a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter in baseball,” says coach Steve Brody, who is entering his 13th season with the Raiders. “It’s not something you like to talk about because you don’t want to jinx it. Of course winning another conference title would be great, but the ultimate prize is always getting to the national tournament.”
Last season, the Raiders (16-2) came within one victory of making an appearance in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Men’s Soccer National Championship. To surpass last year’s campaign, the team will need to rely on new talent as only three players return from the 2010 squad: forward Nikoljan Sinani (Taft), defender Alberto Sanchez (Maine West), and midfielder William Groeings (Kirkwood).
Brody views that turnover as an asset.
“It’s almost better to have a team filled with new players and this is one of the best recruiting classes we’ve had since I’ve been here,” he explains. “When players have success sometimes they can get cocky and automatically expect that to repeat itself. Last year is irrelevant. Incoming players are aware of our history and tradition, but haven’t experienced that success for themselves yet. That’s what helps when you’re building from scratch.”
Oakton’s goalkeepers only surrendered eight goals last year and Brody doesn’t expect a drop off in 2011. Front runners for the position include Daniel Niedzielski, who posted a school record 12 shutouts for Niles West last season, and Javier Martinez, a standout goalkeeper from Amundsen. Also in the mix is Jose Rodriguez from Evanston Township.
“I haven’t established a depth chart yet,” Brody says. “All three are very strong in net and there is little separating them.”
Other highly touted newcomers include midfielder Emanuel Guzman (Lane Tech), defender Cody Uidl (Maine West), a transfer from Judson University, defender Bobak Khalili (Schaumburg), and midfielder Franco Alcocer (Proviso).
“We have a roster filled with quality technical and tactical players,” Brody states. “Our only weakness is that we have so many athletes who haven’t played together collegiately.”
The Raiders open the season at home against Truman College on Saturday, August 27 and begin conference play Tuesday, August 30, at Morton College.
“We’ve had a bull’s-eye on our back for a long time,” Brody says. “Teams measure themselves against us.”
Assistant Head Coach
Assistant Coach/Goalkeeper Coach