An experienced group of players will fill the field for the Moraine Valley Community College men’s soccer team this fall. They’re looking to be contenders in a tight, competitive region.

Last year, the Cyclones had only five returners and still battled through some tough games, holding off nationally ranked teams. That hardworking crew finished 8-5 overall and 3-3 in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference. This year’s roster boasts 14 returners and 17 newcomers, giving the group a more experienced vibe on the field, explained Head Coach Chris Koloffon in his third season leading the program.

“I’m really happy with the number of guys we have because that means the program is doing a good job at retaining players. We returned almost everyone who didn’t move on. They had to stay eligible, and I’m over the moon about that because it gives us a lot of returning experience, most of which is in the backline,” Koloffon said. “We have a lot of speed on the outside, which we didn’t have last year. We’ll have guys who can push up in the net.”

Several returning starters will help the Cyclones charge into the season. Center back Aldo Lagunas (Bremen) is like another coach on the field with a positive attitude who leads by example. “He’s coming back stronger this year,” Koloffon said. Backline player Carlos Villanueva (Eisenhower) is another leader who flows well on the field with Lagunas. Mohammad Mizyed (Oak Lawn) is a leader on the back line who also will help the team. Third-year backline and 2019 All-Region player, Nikodem Kurzeja (Stagg), will keep opponents on their toes, as will Gustavo Alvarez (Oak Lawn).

According to Koloffon, “It won’t be easy to score on us this year.”

As for the incoming talent, Koloffon brought in Eduardo Sanchez (Shepard), who took a year break from school to work and is now ready as a topline keeper. Pedro Guzman (Reavis) was an all-state player and will fill the hole left by graduate Fernando Barragan as an attacking midfielder. He’ll pair strongly with Angel Santillan (Catalyst Maria), a left-footed attacking midfielder. Rafael Soto (Solorio Academy) is another midfielder who was on the team in 2021 and had to take time off for an injury but is back this season.

“These first-year Cyclones are fit, speedy and hungry. It’s a good mix with the experienced players to help set the tone and make everyone feel comfortable. The eagerness of the newcomers also is keeping the sophomores on alert to keep their jobs,” Koloffon said. “We’ll be a contender. We’re already in the top echelon group. We’ll have to work harder, but we’re up for the challenge. If we do what we can do well, we’ll cause a lot of problems for a lot of teams. We’ll go into every game thinking we can win.”

The Cyclones want to win a conference championship and finish in the top two or three in the region, and Koloffon thinks he has the team to do it. Helping him lead the efforts are returning assistant Javier Roman and newcomer Cyclone alumnus Fernando Alvarez. “I can’t tell you how valuable Javier is. Players just love him. He brings so much joy, happiness and experience,” Koloffon said. “Fernando is a first-year coach, he’s been through it. He’s a great addition to the staff.”

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For news media inquiries, contact Maura Vizza, Moraine Valley communications specialist and sports information coordinator, at (708) 974-5742 or