Like any team, the Genoa-Kingston boys soccer team had lofty expectations heading into this season.
But after six wins to start the year, senior Eagan Reams said he knew those goals were more than just aspirational.
“A few games in we saw our dreams were coming to life, really,” Reams said. “I think we had good chemistry even before the season started. ... We brought it to the beginning of the season, we started 6-0 before the loss to Belvidere. And after that we never really looked back.”
The Cogs lost two games all season and reached the finals of the Class 1A Hinckley-Big Rock Sectional behind a powerful offense led by Reams and his 49 goals and 24 assists – both single-season school records. Because of his accomplishments and team-first attitude, Reams was named the 2021 Daily Chronicle Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Reams also set the school’s career-goals record, notching 115 over his four years.
But even as a prolific scorer, coach Randy Tate said what elevated his game was his selflessness. Junior forward Junior Leon had 44 goals and 18 assists this year.
“This year I think he matured into a real team player,” Tate said. “He really worked well with Junior, of course, they’re both looking for each other, always trying to find the open man. Maybe when he was younger he might not have done that. This year, I think he’s played together with his other teammates well, but is also looking for himself to score, which is part of his job. If you’re a forward, you have to score. And he did that quite well this year.”
Reams said it was great being a part of an offense that could connect in so many different ways.
“Every game, something different would happen,” Reams said. “A different build-up play will happen, and we’d score so many goals. Anyone in our offense could score. And to have the chemistry with Junior up front, anytime one of us got the ball we were looking for the other one.”
The season ended for the Cogs with a 6-0 loss to eventual state champ Wheaton Aacdemy – which went on to win a state title, giving up only six goals in the postseason.
Reams said one loss wasn’t going to stain what the team accomplished this season.
“If we got anyone else we’d be making our way to state,” Reams said. “But losing to the state champs, it’s not that sour. Obviously, they’re the state champs. They’re a good team. We know we lost to a good team.”
Reams said he’s weighing his college options, having taken visits to schools including Ripon, Monmouth and Lake Forest among others.
Tate said he expects Reams to do well at the next level.
“He knows the game really well,” Tate said. “A lot of players in high school lack that. He’s played a lot of club ball and been around it quite a while. At the next level, he’s going to get there and no what’s expected of him. He might have a little difficulty coming in as a freshman, but I don’t think it will be so much for him.”
Not only did Reams say this was a season to remember, he said leaving with a handful of school records also means a lot.
“To have these records in my name is definitely something I’m glad to have,” Reams said. “I hope it’s something that will live on after my career.”