Soccer player

Jack Isroff is the post-Tribune Men’s Football Player of the Year

Valparaiso coach Mike Enghofer was philosophical as he reflected on the season and career of senior striker Jack Isroff.

Holder since his second season, Isroff has left an indelible mark on the program.

“The impact he’s had is almost immeasurable,” Enghofer said. “As a coach, you don’t want to think that someone is irreplaceable. You have to figure out the next step. But he’s as irreplaceable as possible.

“We are so sad to see him go. Life won’t be the same around the team without him in many ways. I think the world of him. It’s hard to say how proud I am of him. I love the kid.

Isroff, the 2022 post-Tribune Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year, has increased his production each season – from 16 goals and nine assists in the second year to 22 goals and 13 assists last year to 25 goals and 14 assists this season.

“From an individual point of view, I was happy with how this season went,” Isroff said. “I got into this mode where I thought, ‘This is the last time I’m playing in this shirt. I want to remember that my last season was special.

Isroff was undeterred as he faced even tighter marking.

“It was clearly in everyone’s game plan to quit,” Enhofer said. “It could have easily suffocated him and created an obstacle. He just created a new piece to his game.”

Enghofer noted that Isroff has led the Duneland Athletic Conference in goals and assists this season.

“It’s a rarity,” Enghofer said. “Usually one guy leads the goals and another guy helps set them up. But he does everything. He’s so complete – not only scoring, but he’s ready to defend and create for the other guys. He’s smart and versatile, just a hard-hitting and special player.

“He leads by example, vocally, emotionally, out of habit every day. He’s a student-athlete, not just a football player. He’s such a great teammate.

Both Enghofer and Isroff lamented how the season went overall for the Vikings (10-8-1). They lost in a Class 3A Division Championship match to Portage after having high expectations, including seeking their first Division title since 2012.

“We had a few struggles, and when it all ended it was heartbreaking,” Enghofer said. “You are thinking of losing a very good class and a very good player. But when you have time to let the dust settle, you appreciate more as a coach to have been able to work with a child like that.

Isroff kept the results in perspective.

“From a team perspective, it was an unfortunate season for many reasons,” he said. “But that’s how it goes sometimes. That’s the game. It’s unpredictable, and you never know.

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“I’m happy with how my four years have gone. It was an incredible experience, and I will never forget it. I wish every year had ended differently. I wish I could change it, but I can’t. You just take the memories and remember all the good times. It’s been a great four years, and I’m excited for the next four as well.

Indeed, Isroff took advantage of his birthday on October 23 to engage with Gustavus Adolphus. The Division III program is undefeated this season and is ranked No. 5 in the latest national poll.

“He’s found a place that loves him and is ready to use him right away,” Enghofer said. “They take care of him financially, academically and personally. It’s just really, really exciting and satisfying to see everything line up for him. And everything happens at the same time.

“I wish the world for him in his next phase. I know he will continue to excel because of the standard he holds himself to.

Isroff continued to train six days a week with two club teams. Such dedication comes as no surprise to Enhofer.

“People see him scoring goals and creating assists, and obviously he’s a wonderful player,” said Enghofer. “But he does so much work that no one sees, and he deserves everything he gets. It still doesn’t do him justice for how much he does, how much he puts into his craft and how much he sacrifices.

“It’s not an accident. This is how you find success. All the hours he spends away from the lights – training with us, training alone. I can’t count the number of times he asked me to leave the ball bags after practice so he could do more. That’s the kind of thing that sets him apart. »