Girls soccer: Wheaton North’s Jane Rogers is the Suburban Life Player of the Year

Sophomore forward had 30 goals and 21 assists, led team to DuKane title and sectional final

Wheaton North’s Jane Rogers gets the ball away from Geneva’s Caroline Madden during a Class 3A South Elgin Sectional semifinal game in May 2024.

During the summer, you’ll often find Jane Rogers working as a lifeguard at a local pool.

In the spring, seemingly no one could guard her.

The Wheaton North forward squashed any concerns about a sophomore slump in a huge way, following up an amazing debut season by leading the Falcons to the DuKane Conference championship as well as a regional title and sectional final.

Rogers has been named the 2024 Suburban Life Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

Last year, she scored 19 goals and added 10 assists as a freshman. This year, she finished with 30 goals and 21 assists for the Falcons (18-3-2, 6-0-2) and was named the DuKane Conference Player of the Year. She also was recognized as All-State by the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association.

“She’s a double threat,” Wheaton North senior goalkeeper Zoey Bohmer said. “Her quickness to beat any defender and her vision to see the entire field and always being able to make that perfect assist.”

Last year, Rogers was getting bumped. This year, she was bumping opposing players.

“Before high school she was used to playing kids her age and not having multiple players on her,” Wheaton North coach Tim McEvilly said. “She steps in and is playing 18-year-old kids at 14 and that’s a lot of physical wear and tear. This year, people were bouncing off of her instead of the other way around. She was able to use her speed and technique to be able to touch the ball to open space and create opportunities for herself and teammates.”

Her game progressed to another level.

“I’ve seen some players after a high-quality first season sometimes go through a slump and not produce the same way,” McEvilly said. “Jane came in and it was a combination of a lot of things. Playing with Galaxy (club) and her regimen. She got stronger and physically bigger and she’s as driven of an athlete that I’ve seen in 30 years of coaching. She was ready to take the next step.”

Rogers saw an opportunity for the Falcons to become a top team and ensured that it happened.

“I think after my freshman season I was really happy with the way our team played, the way we worked together and the season I had,” she said. “And then after the start of this season I realized there was so much more potential for high school soccer. I feel like your freshman season is so new. You’re kind of maturing and then you come in as a sophomore and you know what to expect and can kind of take on a leadership role, which I think I found this season and didn’t have my first season.”

While not as eye-popping as her stats, Rogers’ contributions in other ways are helping her continue to evolve into one of the greats.

“Even after my freshman season, which I thought was great and all and I couldn’t have asked for anything more, but I was able to come back and do that and have other roles,” she said. “Doors opened up and I was able to lead and build new relationships with incoming freshmen. It was definitely a lot different than last year.”

Wheaton North's Jane Rogers (8) and St. Charles North's Courtney Suhr (7) battle for the ball during the sectional title game on Saturday May 25, 2024.

Having a Division I (Loyola Chicago) senior goalkeeper as a teammate in Bohmer certainly has provided a great opportunity as a teammate, especially one who’s looking to score and the other who is looking to stop scorers.

“Besides capitalizing with two goals that I assisted her on,” Bohmer joked, “I had an impact on her mostly off the field. I pushed her to be the best she could be both physically and mentally because I knew she had what it takes. Jane made me better by challenging me every day at practice with her shooting abilities and her continuous demonstration of respect of and confidence in me, which I feel made me a better player and teammate.”

While there’s little doubt Rogers frustrated opponents, there’s no doubt she possesses great character and respect for them and the game.

“There’s nothing fake about her,” McEvilly said. “She is a humble individual with a great family. She loves playing the game and she plays it for the right reason, not for personal accolades.”

And that’s one of the many reasons she’s the Player of the Year.

Chris Walker

Chris Walker is a contributor to Shaw Local