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Neighbors of Kane County

Several Local High School Graduates moving on to Play College Soccer

Jun 08, 2020 02:40PM ● By Cassidy Newberry

Geneva, IL – Strikers Fox Valley Soccer Club has announced that 16 high school senior girls and two senior boys are graduating from U-19 (high school) play, to move on to college. Many of the senior girls will be continuing their soccer careers at the collegiate level.

“This group of mostly girls represents the epitome of teamwork and cohesiveness,” said Strikers president, Pat Feulner.  “As a group they have stood out over the years as being exceptional at working together. They represent the best of the Strikers organization and we are sad to see them go – but proud of the young women they have become,” said Strikers president Pat Feulner.

Many in this group played together for years at Strikers, dating back to elementary school. The camaraderie and bonds developed over that time are often what players say they will cherish most.

“I’ll never forget the time I’ve spent on this team,” said Kate Schoenfelder, senior at Batavia High School.  “I love each and every one of my teammates, and I’m so excited to see how successful they’ll be after high school! These are not relationships I’ll forget about after graduation; these are lifelong friendships that have shaped me into the person I am now.”

Strikers' graduating seniors:  Alex Meza of Streamwood High School, bound for Aurora University; Amber Gutsch of Batavia High School, bound for University of Illinois; Kate Schoenfelder of Batavia High School, bound for University of Nebraska; Kyle Kahley of Batavia High School, bound for Baylor University; Emily Dziengel of St. Francis High School, bound for University of Illinois; Emily Thill of St. Francis High School, bound for University of Wisconsin at Whitewater; Isabella DeFeo of St. Francis High School, bound for North Central College; Isabelle Harkelroad of Geneva High School, bound for Waubonsee Community College; Katie Desens of Geneva High School, bound for Carthage College; Margo Yelle of Geneva High School, bound for University of Wisconsin at Whitewater; MaryClare Voreis of Geneva High School, bound for the University of Iowa; Kiara and Olivia McPherson of West Aurora High School, both bound for Waubonsee Community College; Yanna Papoutsis of West Aurora High School, bound for Carthage College; Rachel Chason of Rosary High School, bound for Marquette University; and Xitlali Sanchez of Metea Valley High School, bound for Benedictine University.

Those who intend to play soccer on the collegiate level are Ms. Meza, Ms. Thill, Ms. DeFeo, Ms. Harkleroad, Ms. Desens, Ms. Yelle, Ms. Sanchez and Ms. Papoutsis. The McPherson sisters will be playing college volleyball.

In addition, AntonHerrera has announced plans to play soccer at Aurora University next year.

The Strikers Fox Valley coaching duo of Amy and Jim Winslow said that this girls team has consistently set a great example for the younger teams over the years.

“It is bittersweet to see this team break up and move on in different directions, and it is especially hard having this year end without graduation, a senior high season, and all the regular celebrations,” said Coach Amy Winslow. “But I can’t wait to hear back from them over the years as they move ahead in life. The extraordinary teamwork they developed at Strikers will, no doubt, serve them very well in college and beyond.  It has been an absolute privilege to coach them all these years.”

The team’s record of 11-3 from the summer and fall seasons was highlighted by playing in the Region 2 Final in the National President’s Cup tournament.  While they ultimately lost 1-0 in overtime, they finished in the top 8 in the nation and finished third in the Midwest Regional league U19 White Division.

Coach Jim Winslow added that their focus at Strikers is on being good people, and being good to the people around you, and on self-improvement as well. When these things are the focus, the results will take care of themselves.

“This group of girls always pitched in to help with younger groups in our organization, and were quick to comfort injured team-mates,” Jim Winslow said. “Even though the team comprised girls from nine different high schools, they became a good team, and very close friends.  They keep in touch even though they don’t see each other every day. I’m so proud of how they always included new players to the team over the years. We will miss them terribly.”

The Winslows added that this group of players judged one another not on skill set, but on how they added value to the team – whether that be through soccer talent, soccer IQ, or just the ability to make one another laugh.

“Strikers truly helped me discover why I loved soccer,” added Schoenfelder.  “Never before had I had so much fun playing while still being competitive. The most memorable experience for me is definitely the joy I felt each and every time I played. Strikers will always be a happy memory.”

Information regarding tryouts for the upcoming 2020-2021 season will be available soon. Parents may call Strikers at 630-262-0071 with questions – if no one is available when calling, parents are encouraged to leave their name, email and return phone number to ensure a prompt call back.

Strikers Fox Valley Soccer Club is a nonprofit youth training organization founded in 1989 with the mission of building a highly cohesive, competitive, fun and family-oriented environment, where players can enjoy soccer from an early age all the way through high school and beyond. Over the last three decades, Strikers has become a nationally respected club for soccer excellence. Strikers’ focus is to teach the best soccer techniques and strategy, along with a philosophy and approach designed to build character and help kids be better prepared to embark on any endeavor in life.  For more information, visit or call 630-262-0071.