Last season, the Cyclone men’s soccer team adjusted to a new coaching staff and largely unfamiliar roster. This year, seven returners and a strong recruiting class are on track to go deep into the playoffs.

Unlike last season, head Coach TJ Donahue, leading the team for his second year, has so many talented athletes, he said he’ll have trouble solidifying a starting lineup.

“We have more depth and more players overall. That will help because we’ll have replacements if needed. The bench will be just as strong as the starters. I give that credit to my assistant, Chris Koloffon, for bringing in players,” Donahue said. “It’ll be hard coming up with a starting lineup because they are good. In all my years coaching, I’ve never had this problem before.”

Leading the team will be sophomores Sean McLaughlin (Andrew), Manuel Prouty (Argo), Alonzo Nava (Eric Solorio Academy), Sohaib Abdulhadi (Saudi Arabia), and Max Butler (Oak Forest). This group knows how to play at the college level and what to expect in the games, Donahue said.

The new class includes skilled players Mohamed Farraj (Oak Lawn), Sadiq Mohamed (Oak Lawn) as well as goalkeepers Gustavo Flores (Eisenhower) and Abel Cavada-Bautista (Oak Lawn), all of whom should make things happen on the field for the Cyclones.

Moraine Valley finished a respectable 11-5-1 last year including several close games. This 2017 team should make an even greater dent in the standings with the ultimate goal being a championship.

“We want to win the Skyway Conference championship and of course to graduate our players,” Donahue said. “We’re still learning about these guys, but I know we’ll be good.”