From 2011-2013, Naperville Central boys soccer head coach Troy Adams led his team to the 3A IHSA State Semi finals for three consecutive seasons. Central fell achingly close to state titles in 2011 and 2012, falling in the State Championship game in overtime in back to back seasons. This Feature Story is presented by Edward-Elmhurst Health.
After winning the third place game in 2013, Coach Adams had his third state trophy in only four years as head of the Redhawk program. It appeared at the time that Naperville Central soccer would be a fixture at the State Tournament for years to come. However, for the next eight seasons it was crosstown rival Naperville North who emerged as the area’s team to beat, winning three State Championships in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Central remained a very strong program, but outside of a Sectional Championship in 2015, continued to fall short of the lofty expectations set by the early teams under Coach Adams.
That is until this Fall, when everything clicked for this high powered Redhawk group, which went on to win the DVC Championship, a Sectional Championship over Naperville North and after a Supersectional win over Hinsdale Central, finally returned to the State pitch at Hoffman Estates. Two of the pivotal contributors for this Central varsity roster watched those 2011-2013 teams closely from the stands as young kids, eagerly waiting their turn to suit up for the red and white. Carter Adams, a junior midfielder and Chase Adams, not only get to experience playing for their dad, but playing on the State’s biggest stage as a family.
“It’s very dear to my heart as brings out some real emotions within me to go to State with my brother and my dad,” said Carter Adams. “It feels amazing. You know, there’s no other feeling like going to State with your teammates and especially your dad and your brother.”
“It’s a dream. I think it’s been in nine years since we’ve been here, added Chase Adams. “And then for us, for our first year to be together, my dad and my brother have been together one year before this, and it’s kind of have this unique opportunity. There’s only four teams that go every year. And to be one of them, it’s something a family always dreams of.”
Adams Family Thriving on the Soccer Field
While the situation is indeed a dream come true for the Adams family, it certainly adds some added pressure for Coach Adams as he roams the sidelines, wanting to make the most of the opportunity.
“Yeah, it’s unbelievable. It has made it a nervous wreck,” Troy Adams said with a smile. “My stomach has been unsettled for a while, but to have that experience with them is just outstanding. You know, they’ve been around the program for a long time. They’ve seen successes. They’ve seen us struggle at times. And to be able to kind of get back to where we want to be with them is… it’s almost hard to put words to, but it’s very special.”
Both Carter and Chase have been integral to the team’s run to state on an extremely talented roster. Carter delivered seven assists on the year and made key defensive plays all over the field. While Chase has played well beyond his years as a freshman, scoring over 20 goals and leading the team in assists. The pressure of playing for your father is not always easy to handle, but it is something that both brothers embrace and appreciate.
“Honestly? It’s hard because you’re never not going to get any time where you can have relax. He’s always going to be at home or on the drive back, said Chase. “He knows he can talk to you however he wants. He’s not going to get an email. But I love it honestly, because he’s also able to see in the connection. He also knows the best way for me to play and the best way to kind of calm me down when I am getting nervous or something. And same with my brother. He helps me a lot with his work rate and his kind of knowing when to push me.”
Bond for Adams Brothers
Coach Adams credits Carter for taking his younger brother under his wing, helping Chase develop into one of the best players in the state at such a young age.
“Yeah, it’s been it’s been awesome to see Carter. You know, he got, like many of the students, kind of got the raw end with freshman year being COVID and playing in the spring and then, you know, kind of being able to get it right last year and then, you know, being able to welcome his brother onto the team and his brother having that, that instant support to help him is been really special himself.”
If making it to state was a dream, then the end of the Naperville Central soccer season must be some form of euphoria. The Redhawks throttled Stevenson in the State Semifinals on Friday night as Chase delivered another assist in the dominant 5-0 victory. The following night, Naperville Central won the first State Championship in program history with a 1-0 win over Romeoville behind a second half goal from senior Josh Weigel. Coach Adams finally had his State Title and his fourth State trophy overall. Only this time, his boys were not just cheering from the bleachers, they were celebrating at his side with 1st place medals of their own.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell.