Central Illinois girls soccer team headed to nationals in first season

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Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 10:48 PM CDT
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NORMAL (Heart of Illinois ABC) - The Eclipse Select Central Illinois U-15 Team is making a splash in its first season.

“Every single day just the feeling about it just waking up and knowing that we’re going to nationals in Florida just gives me happy vibes,” Alli Stickelmaier, Peoria Notre Dame sophomore, said.

That’s right, Eclipse Select is headed to nationals after becoming the first girls or boys Central Illinois team to win a Midwest Regional Title.

“There haven’t been any girls’ teams that have made it this far or boys’ teams that have made it this far so it’s just exciting to keep going forward on our journey,” Addie Dea, Morton sophomore, said.

The team is headlined by Central Illinois rising sophomores who shined in their freshman seasons. Now, they’ve joined forces to make people notice the soccer talent in the area.

“I think we’ve put the entire area on the map from the standpoint of people know Central Illinois,” Mike Matkovich, Eclipse Select Central Illinois head coach, said. “We have a lot of good players in the pipeline so yeah, good talent down here and it looks very bright for the future.”

“I think that’s really cool and I’m just so proud of how we’ve done as a team,” Rayna Powers, Normal Community sophomore, said.

Eclipse Select is ready to put its talents to the test on the national stage and put itself on the map nationwide.

“I think the draws out will be difficult there’s no easy games when you get to that level so the biggest thing we accomplished,” Matkovich, said. “We wanted to get there, now we’ll take the next step and measure ourselves there.”

“Our hard work has paid off and just really can’t wait to see what we do,” Powers said.

“I know it’s going to be hard competition but I’m still looking forward to the opportunity,” Stickelmaier said.

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