With his animated coaching style and track record of success, replacing high school soccer coach Danny Makaric wasn’t necessarily an easy proposition.
Ten games into the season, however, Ivek Halik has made the transition seamless as Makaric’s replacement at RBHS.
Most importantly, the players have not skipped a beat as the Bulldogs are well on their way to another successful season.
“I’ve known (Halik) since I was younger, most of us have on the team. The transition was easy for us” RBHS midfielder Ike Jebb said. “It’s been really nice. Now that he’s officially the varsity coach, it’s been a nice transition for all of us.
Halik has guided the Bulldogs to a 7-1-2 record. Makaric is now the head coach of the Hinsdale South boys soccer team.
“Right now, we just want to continue on,” said Halik, a close friend and former assistant coach under Makaric. “Danny has been giving me advice since he left. He’s been one of the biggest coaching mentors in my career.
“The (RBHS) program is established. We just have to continue to build the younger levels and continue the success of the whole program.”
Most of the players on the RBHS varsity roster have been playing together since they were kids.
“I think our chemistry is definitely one of the strongest things,” Jebb said. “We’ve all known each other since we were younger. That’s definitely helped us out in the long run.”
The Bulldogs’ chemistry has helped maintain success on the field.
“This particular group has been together for a number of years. That’s one of the biggest reasons for our great start,” Halik said. “They jumped right into the season and have been working together.”
RBHS aims to repeat as Metro Suburban Conference champs.
“Our goal is definitely to sweep conference again like we did last year,” senior midfielder Nathan Juarez said. “We want to get a good seed for when we host the regional this year. We definitely want to win our regional and go from there.”
RBHS earned a 3-0 win against visiting Brother Rice on Sept. 15. After a scoreless first half, the Bulldogs broke the game open with a goal from Jebb, followed by two goals from Juarez.
RBHS has been dominant lately, winning six of seven matches and outscoring the opposition 19-2. Along with Juarez and Jebb, other key contributors for the Bulldogs include midfielders Jacob Douglas, Juan Quiroz, Carlos Tapia and goalkeeper Matthew Pilweski.
“Our passing has gotten a lot better and that goes along with the chemistry,” Juarez said. “We know where our teammates are going to be. It’s made our passing more effective this year than it was last year.
“We might not score as many goals (as last year) but we’re definitely playing better.”
The Bulldogs host Argo on Thursday (Sept. 22) at 6:45 p.m., followed by another home match against York Saturday (Sept. 24) at 11:45 a.m.