One of them knows how to score and score in bushels. The other is adept on getting the ball in the net on his own accord and by passing to others.
Together, DePue’s Carlos Acosta and Princeton’s Dylan Schaefer combined for 66 goals and 33 assists this season, leading their respective teams to one of their best seasons in school history,
They are the 2013 BCR Soccer Players of the Year.
Albert Pujols was called the Machine in an ESPN promo commercial in reference to the former St. Louis Cardinal ability to consistently hit a baseball. The folks in Bristol, Conn., from the sports network might want to visit DePue High School to film another machine.
DePue senior Carlos Acosta is a machine when it comes to scoring soccer goals. He had 41 goals alone this year for the Little Giants and finished with a whopping 124 for his career, ranked 13th all-time in the IHSA record books.
He didn’t know about the school record until a teacher told him he was closing in on the top 20 in IHSA history.
“Once I made it, it was exciting to keep moving forward and getting higher and higher, and I thank my team for supporting me. That was a big goal not only for me, but for them as well,” said Acosta, who had 21 goals as a freshmen and 31 in each of his sophomore and junior seasons.
They like to call it Beast Mode when Acosta gets in a scoring frenzy. DePue coach Tim Stevens doesn’t discount Acosta being a machine on the soccer pitch. It comes natural to him.
“He is a great scorer because of his balance over the ball and his body control,” he said. “On most of his goals he is able to dribble himself open with small touches of the ball. Once he sees a window, he is able to finish with power in confined areas. His ability to generate power and accuracy makes him a dominate finisher.
“He is so strong over the ball and keeps his balance so well that refs miss issuing at least 1 to 2 penalties a game. Not to mention the fact that his is oftentimes double and triple teamed in all the matches that he plays in.”
For a machine to work properly, all of its parts must be functioning as one. That’s what Acosta had from his friends in blue and orange for DePue.
“Carlos has been able to finish because of the teammates around him who are truly unselfish and share completely in his successes with him,” Stevens said.
The Little Giants won their first seven games, finishing with a school best 12-4 record. Their season ended with a disappointing 3-2 loss to Wilmington on penalty kicks at regionals.
“It was a little disappointing we didn’t win a regional game,” Acosta said.
Acosta wants to study nursing and become a nurse practitioner. He would like to continue his soccer career. He has received interest from North Central College, Western Illinois and Bradley.
The Assist man
If Acosta was Señor Score, Schaefer is definitely known as Mr. Assist.
While he scored plenty of goals himself (25), Schaefer’s ability to set others up for the score is what separates him from others.
“First and foremost, he was very unselfish,” PHS coach Jason Bird said. “I think early in the games, he would look to get that assist or pass the ball off to somebody else. Then later in the game, Dylan wasn’t afraid to take that role on and being responsible for scoring a goal.”
Schaefer dished out 23 assists on the year, breaking both the single season and career records (38) at PHS. He accounted for 48 of the 102 goals scored by the Tigers this year.
“There’s probably other goals he was involved in as well he didn’t get the assist or goal,” Bird said. “Nearly 50 percent of our scoring went through Dylan somehow or another. That’s a huge thing for the team.”
It was a role Schaefer enjoyed.
“I don’t think I’m selfish at all. I like giving other people chances, too. If I had a shot, then I took it. But if someone was open, I’d definitely pass it to them, give them a shot,” he said. “I like to get the ball moving, It’s good to make the opponents focus on you and when they do step up on you, just dump it off and put an easy goal for you.”
Schaefer started the season out at forward, but Bird moved him back to midfield to get him more involved in the game for PHS. Schaefer said it was a little different having played forward so long, but said it worked out good for the team.
“It gave me chances for assists and put me on top of the 18 and take shots if I needed to, too,” Schaefer said.
“We felt it was important to have his foot on the ball as many times as possible, and I think he really shined back there,” Bird said. “Not only did he get the ball to our offense, he hustled back and got involved in the defensive side of the field. I really think he became a complete player this year.”
And even though, he wasn’t a team captain, Bird said there was no doubt Schaefer was the leader on the field.
Schaefer was happy with a second straight regional championship, but said the Tigers were looking for sectionals.
Due to graduate at mid-term, Schaefer is eying starting up his motorcycle racing career once again. He would like to continue to play soccer if he gets the opportunity
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