Riverside-Brookfield High School senior forward Joe Aieta has been the Bulldogs’ top scoring threat this season. Aieta has netted six goals for the RBHS soccer team with hopefully many more on the way as the regular season calendar flips to its final month.
Although he didn’t play (sore ankle) in the Bulldogs’ 3-2 win Saturday over Proviso West, he will likely return to action in the Bulldogs’ next two games, a pair of critical conference meetings against Elmwood Park and Timothy Christian. Despite their 3-7-3 overall record, the defending conference champion Bulldogs are 1-1 in the Metro Suburban with designs on a repeat.
Although he knows how challenging it will be to live up to the 2012 edition of the Bulldogs which advanced all the way to a sectional final, Aieta has faith that RBHS can return to a sectional and beyond if they find a higher level of play.
“Last year was the best season we’ve ever had at RB,” he said. “This year we’re still a very good team. We have a solid defense, midfield and forwards; it’s just a matter of putting it all together. We’ve really been able to do that lately.
“The conference title is still up for grabs,” he added. “If we win every game now, we have a shot at that number one spot. That’s really the main goal at this point, to win conference.”
Aieta has been playing soccer on a competitive level since joining a travel team in sixth grade. Looking ahead to college, he is considering attending Brown University with an undecided major and a possible music minor. While he’d like to play soccer in college, he realizes the difficulty of playing Division 1 mens soccer while also keeping his grades up.
“It would be pretty cool to play [at the Division 1 level],” he said. “I’m not sure if I would do it because it would be hard to balance that with academics, but it would be fun to go D-1.”
In the meantime, Aieta is cherishing time spent with his teammates at RBHS.
“It’s great having a lot of friends on the team,” he said. “It’s nice because it’s like they’re my school friends who I also happen to play soccer with which is pretty cool.”
Off the soccer field, you’ll likely find Aieta in the RBHS music department playing the cello and piano. He has been playing the cello since fifth grade and enjoys playing music.
“I’d like to think I’m okay [at the cello],” Aieta said with a laugh. “I’ve been taking private lessons for a while now.”
Aieta’s love of soccer has grown over the years as well, with a particular affinity for the speed and precision of the game.
“I like getting long runs, when I have the ball and get past people,” he said. “I also like how you can get a bunch of quick passes in succession to move the ball around. When it works out like that, it’s really cool.”
Aieta remembers the Bulldogs’ stellar run last year that ended with a loss to Wheaton Academy in the sectional championship. The Bulldogs are hungry for more postseason success this fall.
“We always want to get to the regional and sectional championships,” he said. “It would be really cool if we can get further than we last year and win a sectional.”