(10-4-17) In September the UNO Soccer Academy became Acero Soto High School, in honor of Victoria Soto, a first-grade teacher slain at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. It is a very nice gesture, but is it for the right reason.

Juan Rangel, UNO’s former CEO, told the Chicago Tribune – idea was to create a soccer “development academy”.

“We could create a school based on soccer. If we name it a ‘soccer academy,’ we could attract kids. We weren’t going to test them to see if they were good. … The idea was not to create soccer stars, but to use soccer as a hook to engage kids in our neighborhood.”

In 2016 UNO Soccer Academy joined the Public League, but despite having a big season no Illinois High School Associaition playoffs. Why you ask, because  the IHSA declined to admit the academy based on ‘Soccer’ being a part of the school’s name.

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson told the Tribune about why the IHSA declined the school membership:

“We felt like it clearly was trying to build upon the fact that they were going to create very good soccer teams,” he said. “The fear of that, and how it would trigger (other schools) if they have soccer success with that name, created issues within the membership.”

Soto Wolves

According Soto HS’s web site, this is why the school’s name was changed:

Soccer Academy High School opened in the fall of 2013, serving grades 9-12. After opening, our school community voiced great interest in participating in varsity level interscholastic athletics. On behalf of Soccer Academy High School, UCSN made application to the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) to enable student participation in varsity level play but was denied until such a time that we remove “soccer” and/or “academy” from the school name.

IHSA membership is a high priority for our students and school community. Thus, in September 2016, our school began a renaming process where students, parents and the broader school community deliberated on a new name. Participants focused on selecting strong female leaders that embody the values and qualities of importance to the school. Students considered characteristics such as leadership, bravery, courage, humility, success, intelligence and vision when researching the kind of leader they would like to represent their school. Stakeholders selected five individuals. The Soccer Academy Student Council narrowed the selection further to two equally desirable honorees. The school also held a student and staff vote. After consulting the living relatives of both desirable honorees, our school moved forward with the students’ choice, the late Ms. Victoria Leigh Soto.

2017 Victoria Soto HS Soccer Team

The Wolves will play their first ever playoff game on Tuesday, October 10th. They are the #2 seed in the Lisle Sr. Class 1A sectional.

Elmhurst IC Catholic Sectional

Lisle Sr. Regional- Class 1A

Date TBA – Match 1 at TBA: (8) Chicago Gage Park at (7) Chicago Catalyst/Maria

Tue., Oct. 10 – Match 2 at 4:00 pm: (2) Chicago Acero Soto vs. Winner Match 1 — Tournament site: Lisle Jr. High, 5207 Center Ave., Lisle

Wed., Oct. 11 – Match 3 at 4:00 pm: (3) Chicago University vs. (5) Lisle Sr.

Fri., Oct. 13 – Match 4 at 4:00 pm: Winner Match 2 vs. Winner Match 3