Girls soccer: Gleason leaves impressive legacy at Libertyville

  • Libertyville's Avery Gleason, left, is the Captain of the 2022 Daily Herald Lake County All-Area Girls Soccer Team.

      Libertyville's Avery Gleason, left, is the Captain of the 2022 Daily Herald Lake County All-Area Girls Soccer Team. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 6/9/2022 3:17 PM

The pieces were nearly in place in advance of the 2020 soccer season for coach Daniel DePaz, who began to assemble a championship roster at Libertyville.

Future all-stater Lauren Milz was the central figure in 2019. And for her next two seasons then freshmen Lauren Rocco and Sally Grace Rogers served their apprenticeship.

 

Then 2020 would see Avery and Paige Gleason, Abby Gordon and Riley Brennan all enter the team picture to help the club go 13-7-0, before the Wildcats enjoyed a historic breakout season a year ago, followed by another this spring.

On a team with plenty of talent to go around, Avery Gleason would be a shining example of what an All-Area Captain should be. And with that, she is the 2022 Daily Herald All-Area Lake County Captain.

"I am a little overwhelmed to hear that I'll be the All-Area Captain, but I remember watching (Lauren) Milz, and what a great leader she was, (so) I've tried to be the best teammate and leader on a team that has so many great players," said Gleason.

"Avery has meant everything to this team, and our program," said DePaz. "She is just a great teammate, with great skills, and is a true finisher who knows how to pick her spots to capitalize on defensive mistakes."

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The Wildcats would finally break a 20-year dry spell from the state tournament last season, and it was the game-winning strike from Gleason that her and DePaz list as the most memorable moment of her superb career.

With penalty kicks likely deciding the Wildcats' supersectional with New Trier, Gleason provided the heroic strike.

"I can vividly remember that goal with Abby (Gordon) playing a ball over their back line to allow Avery to track (down) in space near the top right side of the box. (And) whenever she has space like that, I always know in big moments like that, she will deliver," recounted DePaz.

"That goal is something I'll never forget. It helped us advance to state for the first time in 20 years, and we came home with the third place trophy as well," Gleason said.

That sequence in which DePaz describes is just a small sample of what her scouting might look like:

Work rate is off the charts, with her touchline-to-touchline nonstop energy, tenacity running through the channels to create space for herself (helps) pry open the best of backlines leading to goals for herself, and plenty of helpers who feed off the energy of this star forward.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Not just an attacking threat, Gleason can be seen dropping back behind the front line where she can distribute with pace and accuracy, while a ball winning menace to create turnovers from the midline into the final third.

Gleason bagged 31 goals, and claimed 11 assists these past two seasons when the Wildcats went a dazzling 35-6-2.

"Paige (Avery's twin sister) and I have played with so many of my current teammates beginning from a young age and right on through to our fantastic Libertyville 74's club team. So we all have great soccer and friend memories to take with us," said Avery, who will attend Penn State University this fall.

Among her non-soccer highlights was a trip to Cambodia where she and others provided social work as part of the Caring for Cambodia Club during a two-week stay.

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