The primary goals for the Riverside-Brookfield girls soccer team entering every season are to win the Metro Suburban Conference championship and a regional title.
Head coach Danny Makaric believes this year’s edition of the Bulldogs is capable of achieving both goals, but he also envisions a potentially special run over the next several seasons.
“We have 22 players on our roster, only four of them are seniors,” Makaric said. “Our goal is to win conference and we’re looking for major results this season. I think over the next 2-3 years though, we can be really good.”
Stopper Rachel Kluba along with senior midfielders Salem Baer and Hannah Claywell offer RB talent and much-needed varsity experience. Kluba plays with a tremendous motor, constantly running on the field, while Claywell and Baer are excellent athletes who have also starred at RB in basketball and tennis, respectively. Amy Zyck, Lia Sanchez and Caroline Waas are other key returning players for RB.
“A lot of the girls have already been playing together and preparing [for the regular season] through the fall and winter,” Makaric said. “It’s an awesome group. They work together, but our team has also created a fun, spirited atmosphere.”
Sophomore Ashley Ferguson is a burgeoning star and headlines the Bulldogs’ talented crew of younger players that also features freshman Mariah Dorsey and Anika Marchan.
“Ashley is a strong 1-on-1 player who can really dribble well,” Makaric said. “She’s a great player who I believe has the ability to play college soccer.”
Much of the Bulldogs’ talent stems from Makaric’s Chicago International Soccer Club, an organization founded in 2005 by the former Croatian professional player. As an ancillary benefit, the program has served as a valuable feeder program for both RB boys and girls soccer programs.
Last season, Glenbard South edged RB 1-0 essentially for the conference title. This year, the Bulldogs hope to dethrone the Raiders, although Fenton and Elmwood Park carry similar aspirations in the conference race.
RB, which won seven games last year, host Maine South on March 21 (6:15 p.m.). Makaric has stacked the nonconference slate of games with tough opponents like Hinsdale Central and Downers Grove North.
“It’s a good test for us to play against bigger schools,” Makaric said. “I get a better understanding of the kind of team we have, and it prepares us very well for the conference.”