Boys soccer: Buffalo Grove's Eloiza has one up on family now

 
By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/9/2018 10:43 AM
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  • Kevin Eloiza of Buffalo Grove High School is the All-Area team captain in boys soccer in the Northwest.

      Kevin Eloiza of Buffalo Grove High School is the All-Area team captain in boys soccer in the Northwest. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

No boys soccer player has ever reached the level of absolute brilliance in the Northwest suburbs or, arguably, the state than Brian McBride.

The 1989 Buffalo Grove grad achieved greatness at every level, first as an All-American at St. Louis University, then starring roles along the way with the U.S. National Team, Columbus Crew, and Fulham of the English Premier League before returning to finish out his career with the Chicago Fire.

Kevin Eloiza will be the first to admit he's not to be compared to one of the best ever, but the Buffalo Grove senior does have one thing in common with McBride that he's proud to say he can share with the former Bison icon.

That would be a Mid-Suburban League championship.

On October 11 at Grant Blaney Stadium, Eloiza and his teammates would lift the MSL Soccer Cup trophy becoming the first BG team to do so in 30 years when McBride, under Hall of Fame coach John Erfort, beat Rolling Meadows to give the program its first league title.

"Winning the cup easily is the best thing that's ever happened to me in my high school soccer career," said Eloiza.

Even better than being named captain of the 2018 Daily Herald Northwest All-Area team?

Eloiza did not hesitate a moment with his response of an emphatic, "yes, the best ever."

That's Eliza, agreed both his current coach, Darren Llewellyn, and former coach Brad Abel when told of what Eloiza deemed his favorite moment during his Bison career.

"You have to know that for everything Kevin does on the field, which in my opinion is at a level higher than anyone else, he's even better as a person," said Llewellyn. "I'm sure he blushed when I told him he would be the All-Area captain, because he's such a humble young man, and bottom line, just a great kid."

"Kevin is one of the most gifted and skilled players I've ever coached, what he does on the field is extraordinary," said Abel, who passed the coaching reins over to his longtime friend Llewellyn prior to the 2018 campaign.

"I could go on and on about Kevin, but it all starts about him being a terrific young man, and to me, a player who deserves this honor."

Abel would deploy Eloiza out on the wing as he played in the shadow of Alex Alfaro, who is now playing serious minutes at Wisconsin.

Last season, Eloiza inspired a MSL East division title by creating six PKs, converting all of them, while stationed out on the wing, the No. 10, or No. 6 in Abel's formation.

Llewellyn says his top player would reach another level this season.

"I always talk about soccer like an orchestra where you have a great soloist. Kevin was our great soloist," the coach said.

"He would use his remarkable technical skill and vision to see everyone's runs while dribbling under pressure yet still find that seam or space to free them up."

Eloiza's achievements are a lengthy list -- 11 goals in 2017, 2 hat tricks, 9 goals (4 game-winners), 18 assists this season, twice named All-Area, 2018 co-MSL West Player of the Year, 2018 All-State, and many more.

There are many attributes that makes Eloiza a standout player. He boasts great stamina, tactical awareness, discipline, bravery, never backing away from a challenge, composed on the ball, where he's a two-footed marvel.

Creativity would flow through the middle of the park with Eloiza running the show.

Pacey, tricky, with an eye for the goal or assist, Eloiza is the ultimate quiet leader by example that Llewellyn admires so much.

"I just like playing the game," says Eloiza, who moved from the Schwaben AC soccer club over to the Metro Adult League to ready himself for the college game next season.

"The Metro is bigger and faster, and that's what college soccer is all about, so that will prepare me for what's ahead," Eloiza said.

What's ahead may find him playing at Carthage College in Kenosha where cousins Alberto and Danny Eloiza play, or D-III power Dominican University.

Wherever that next stop leads, it's important it includes studies in the area of architectural design, which he's already gotten a head start on during the morning hours at Harper College before heading back to Buffalo Grove to complete his afternoon academic schedule.

From the reference above to cousins Alberto and Danny, one must not forget former Bison star, Irving Eloiza, Kevin's older brother who in 2012 was honored as the Daily Herald All-Area captain.

"We've kind of had this thing going back and forth about who was the better player," says Kevin with a wry smile. "He may have had the edge because he was named All-Midwest in 2012, but I told him nothing is better than winning the MSL Soccer Cup, so now I have one up on him with family bragging rights."

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