Always a hotbed for high school soccer in Southern Illinois, the metro-east region looks to be no different in 2018 as many of the top players are already putting up impressive numbers.
Based on what they accomplished a year ago and their ability to lead their teams to successful seasons and perhaps deep into the postseason here are just 13 of the top players to keep an eye on during the 2018 high school season..
Alex Debourge and Mitchell Kidd, Althoff
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The Crusaders (5-1-1) had their six game unbeaten string end with a loss to Class 1A state power Marquette this week, but both Debourge and Kidd have provided offense to the Althoff attack. Debourge leads Althoff with 14 points (6 goals, 2 assists), while Kidd has four goals and four assists for 12 points
Logan Doerr, Gibault, forward
One half of the Hawks dynamic scoring combination along with Karson Huels a year ago, Doerr finished the season with 28 points on 10 goals and adding eight assists. A marked man by opposing defenses this season, Doerr has found the going a little tougher but has scored three goals early in the season.
Jordan Ellis, O’Fallon, midfielder
The Panthers (3-3) have tallied only four goals in their last five games, but Ellis has led the inconsistent attack. The senior has four goals and an assists (9 points) after enjoying a successful season a year ago with 30 points on 12 goals and six assists.
Riley Hubler, Columbia, forward
Hubler was one of the top offensive players in the St. Louis area a year ago when he finished with 25 goals and 56 points and was a first team all-state selection. This year, Hubler has started fast with 11 goals and leads the St. Louis area in scoring with 25 points. The Eagles are currently 5-0-1 and have outscored their opponents 42-1 to start the year.
Karson Huels, Gibault, midfielder
The latest in a long line of outstanding midfielders turned out by the Hawks, Huels was a first team all-area selection a year ago when he led Gibault to a second place finish at the Class 2A state finals., finishing with 46 points on 18 goals and 10 assists. Huels has 11 points this season for the Hawks (4-2-1).
Sam Kleinschmidt and Alec Venhaus, Columbia, goalies
Replacing all-state goalie Jon Kuebler, both Kleinschmidt and Venhaus have been outstanding in the early going as they have combined for six shutouts. The Eagles have outscored their seven opponents 47-1.
Luke Liljegren, Collinsville, midfielder
After scoring six goals all of last season, Liljegren has become a major weapon for the Kahoks offense as he leads the team in scoring with seven goals and four assists. Only a junior, Liljegren has connected on seven of his eight shots this season
Ethan Miracle, Edwardsville, midfielder
One of the premier players in the Southwestern Conference, Miracle was unstoppable at times last year as he led a balanced Tigers offense with 12 goals. The Tigers catalyst once again, Miracle has four goals in the early going of the ‘18 season.
Owen Trudt, Belleville East, midfielder
The Lancers are off and running with a 5-2-1 record in their first eight games and Trudt, a junior, has played a key role. After scoring just 10 points last season, Trudt already has 13 points on six goals and an assist. Trudt also has a pair of game-winning goals.
Logan Whitehead, Collinsville, forward
The Kahoks are off to a 6-0-1 start after a 3-0 win over O’Fallon on Tuesday and Whitehead is a major reason the fast start. After finishing last season with 40 points (16 goals, 8 assists), the senior forwards has 13 points, including five goals in the early going of the ‘18 season
Derek Young, Waterloo, midfielder
Stepping up for a Bulldogs team which was hit hard by graduation, Young has established himself as an offensive leader for the Bulldogs with seven goals and an assist (15 points). Only a junior, Young tallied just one goal all of last season.