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Freshman Chase Poortinga dreaming big for Illiana Christian
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BOYS SOCCER

Freshman Chase Poortinga dreaming big for Illiana Christian

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DYER — People at Illiana Christian aren’t shy when discussing freshman forward Chase Poortinga.

“He could be the best player in school history if he keeps going and just mentally keeps maturing,” Vikings coach Todd Bevan said. “He’s better than any freshman I’ve seen come through here in my time.”

So far, he’s living up to the hype.

Poortinga leads the Vikings with five goals through six games, including five matches against 3A teams. The school record for scores in a season as a freshman is 12.

“I want to keep on scoring a ton of goals, keep on doing what I’m doing right now,” Poortinga said. “I’m trying to carry my high school team as much as possible.”

Three of those goals came in his very first high school game against Morgan Township.

For the first, he made a run and tapped it into the nylon. The second was a set piece and Poortinga beat the keeper top corner. The third was on a corner kick.

“It felt really good. I really, really wanted to score a goal in that game and I put us up 2-0 (with the first one),” he said. “I like beating players 1v1 on the wing. I like scoring goals.”

He has advanced ball skills. Dribbling isn’t a concern. Improving his aerial game —as a 5-foot-7 player who admittedly doesn’t jump well — is the focus right now.

Poortinga’s used to a faster, finesse-driven game in high-level club soccer. In high school, he’s playing against opponents who may not be as skilled. But they are bigger, stronger and more experienced.

“He’s smaller in stature, but he does not lose possession. He holds his ground and he’s very strong,” Bevan said. “Guys who are three or four years older than him come up and try to body him off the ball and he does not lose it.”

Illiana lost 11 seniors to graduation last year, including nine starters.

“I knew I’d play a lot because I knew they weren’t returning a lot of guys from last year, but I’ve been playing pretty much all of every single game. It’s been a lot of fun,” Poortinga said.

Bevan knew the freshman class was good and understood there would be opportunity. He didn’t expect Poortinga to be one of four freshman to start for the Vikings this early.

“He doesn’t take a lot of coaching. He has a little bit of that leadership quality already,” Bevan said. “The other freshmen, they really respect him and look up to him so he can really take somebody under his wing and coach them up so I can focus on the bigger picture.”

Illiana’s outlook right now includes a deep postseason run. The latest Indiana Soccer Coaches Association poll has the Vikings ranked No. 16 in 1A.

“I think we can win state this year,” Poortinga said. “In four years, hopefully I can be one of the best players in Illiana history.”

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