No off-season break for Naperville North soccer star
Chris Sullivan's off-season has been anything but relaxing, he said.
Sullivan, Naperville North's senior soccer star, has not had much downtime to really soak in his team's recent state title.
Instead, he has played in the Boys High School Soccer All-American Game in North Carolina and is playing for the Huskies' basketball team.
“After basketball practice every day, I go outside or in my basement to continue working on getting quicker and cleaner on the ball,” Sullivan told the Will County Gazette.
Then again, busy off-seasons are the norm for Sullivan when it comes to honing his soccer abilities and skills.
“I would say that every off-season, I focus on getting stronger, quicker and improving my foot skills,” he said. “I think that this is very important because with every season, I become more comfortable and clean on the ball, which allows me to play with more confidence in myself.”
Sullivan's numbers suggest there is already plenty of confidence in his game.
According to the team's statistics on www.maxpreps.com, Sullivan scored 19 goals and recorded 13 assists this season. He was strong when the Huskies needed him to be – in the postseason. Sullivan scored six goals and had two assists over the course of Naperville North's march through the Class 3A state tournament, which culminated in the Huskies' 3-1 win over Barrington in the final on Nov. 5. Earlier in the tournament, he scored all of the Huskies' goals in their 3-0 win over Waubonsie Valley in the sectional semifinals.
“To finish my high school career with a state title was like a dream come true,” Sullivan said. “The NNHS soccer program has been so close to my family and its hearts. There was no better way to end my career as a high school player, then as a state champion. Of course, it would not have been possible without my teammates and coaches, and I am forever grateful for my amazing team.”
Being born into a soccer-supporting family also helped guide his path.
Sullivan said his earliest soccer memories included getting up early – and dressing in many layers, like mothers make their kids do, he said – to play in park-district games. His father, Tim, whom Sullivan said “played and always loved the game,” was his coach then, and they never lost a game.
“He made me very passionate about soccer and was always, and still is, pushing me to be better,” Sullivan said.
Then there also was his brother, Joe, who introduced soccer to him.
“As a little kid, you think that your older brother is the coolest kid in the world, and you want to do everything like he does. Since he loved soccer, it was second nature for me to follow in his footsteps,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan's soccer plans include the immediate goal of playing the club season with the Chicago Fire and “trying to get to Nationals.”
“As for the future, I have committed to play Division I soccer at Bowling Green State University, and I hope to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament with them,” he said.