Bright futures after Skyline Cup win

Boys varsity soccer beat Curie 3-1 in consolation bracket championship


VICTORY: Members of the team pose with their newly won trophy

The Jones boys varsity soccer team won the Chicago Public League (CPL) Skyline Cup on Oct. 24, taking first place in the consolation bracket with a win over Curie Metro High School.

“It was almost unplayable, [very] windy,” said head coach Paul Zubb. “But the team was resilient and fought through that.”

The team’s performance wasn’t great at the start of the game, but they recovered and powered through to a victory.

“In the championship, we didn’t have the best start,” said Hector Jimenez ‘23. “We were down 1-0, but the team persevered and we finished off the game with a 3-1 win.”

This seemed like a common theme throughout the season, as the team played much better in some halves of games than others. 

“It was the perfect representation of the rest of the season,” said Jimenez. “Going into games, we were looked at as the underdogs, which was a big motivation for the team.”

The possibility of success throughout the season seemed to be harmed by penalties and injuries, with their goalie missing some time with an injury and leaving with a red card in the championship. 

“It just didn’t turn out exactly how we wanted it to,” said goalkeeper Almir Hajdarevic ‘24. “That can be allotted to a lot of injuries, but we definitely showed glimpses of potential, and at the end of the day, we did get a trophy.”

The victory seemed well deserved for the team, especially for the seniors considering their experiences over the past four years. 

“Overall, it was fantastic for the seniors,” said Zubb. “With the unpredictable seasons [because of] COVID, I think they did well and deserve to go out with something special.”

The seniors themselves view this ending in a similar way, excited about the importance of ending on a victory.

“I feel like this was one of the best ways to end my career at Jones,” said Jimenez. “For my last game to be a championship [that] we won and for me to win those awards, I don’t think I could’ve written a better story for myself.”

While the team is losing some valuable seniors, other players will be provided with more opportunities at various positions.

“The exciting part is to see who can fill those spots,” said Zubb. “Losing them will hurt tremendously, but seeing the younger players bring a different dynamic will be very exciting.”

The players show their devotion to the sport and the team by practicing day in and day out. 

“This was definitely the most committed group of kids,” said Zubb. “They have to go and travel for practice, and that right there is huge dedication.”

This seems to also resonate in the community that the players have grown with each other, creating a strong connection. 

“Our bond was never really questioned,” said Jimenez. “At the end of the season, it felt more like a family than a team.”

Outside of soccer itself, the players value each other and what they’ve built together.

“It’s a really good bond of guys,” said Hajdarevic. “That’s probably the best part of sports, creating those meaningful relationships with a bunch of people that you can call your friends.”

For the overall season, Jimenez won all-conference/all-sectional, Brenden Dons ‘23 won all-sectional, and Stefan Dabic ‘25 won all-sectional honorable mention. 

“Hector Jimenez, he was our leading goal scorer,” said Zubb. “He was all-conference and he was also all-sectional.”

While being the one who won the awards, Jimenez says it was a full team effort.

“I feel really grateful to be recognized, but I couldn’t have done it without my team,” said Jimenez. “They really pushed me to become a better player and made me strive [to be] greater.”

This season’s ending provides hope for the team, especially those heading into their last year at Jones.

“I’m really excited for that final season,” said Hajdarevic. “All the guys on JV are really talented, and now we’re all going to be put together on varsity.”

While these players haven’t had much time together, they appreciate the team and the influence that they’ve had on each other. 

“I’ve been grateful to play with these guys,” said Hajdarevic. “I’ve grown a lot as a person through it, and I can’t wait until next year.”