QHS All-Time Starting XI: Sohn’s control of pace and play leads to magical state run by Blue Devils


J.D. Sohn, right, helped the Quincy High School boys soccer team reach the Class 3A state championship game in 2015 and the second-place finish is the highest in program history. | Submitted photo

This is the seventh installment in a series highlighting the Quincy High School boys soccer players the Muddy River Sports staff has named to the program’s all-time starting 11 in conjunction with the Blue Devils’ 50th season.

J.D. Sohn, Midfielder, Class of 2017

QUINCY — J.D. Sohn looked around and saw elation through his tear-filled eyes.

At first, he couldn’t understand that.

“I think it was just my competitive nature that wouldn’t allow me to celebrate that moment initially,” Sohn said.

A junior midfielder on the 2015 Quincy High School boys soccer team, Sohn helped the Blue Devils become the first team in program history to play in a state championship game. Quincy lost 2-1 to Libertyville at Hoffman Estates High School in Class 3A title game, and Sohn struggled to embrace the Blue Devils’ best finish ever.

“The coaches came up to me and all my other friends and people were jumping around and were excited that we just got second in state,” Sohn said. “We had done something we hadn’t done before. They were like, ‘Dude, you have to pick your head up. This is awesome. You might not appreciate it now, but we did something.’

“I look back and it was a blessing and a curse to be so competitive. Like I said, I was crying and upset we had lost. But then I look back and I’m like, ‘Dude, I wish I would have taken it like they did and been a little more appreciative in the moment.’ But I’m very appreciative now. It was awesome.”

It was magical.

Sohn and the Blue Devils cleared every hurdle in a remarkable way. It started in the regional championship against Collinsville as Quincy won a penalty-kick shootout after 100 minutes of scoreless soccer. In the sectional semifinals, a 1-0 victory over traditional postseason nemesis Edwardsville kept the run going, and the Blue Devils beat Tinley Park Andrew 3-1 in the super-sectional with Sohn assisting on all three goals.

He had another assist on the first of Riley Roth’s two overtime goals in a 3-2 victory over Bartlett in the state semifinals. The title game didn’t turn out the way the Blue Devils wanted, but the memories of such a remarkable run never fade.

“That’s one of those things you will treasure for life,” said Sohn, who earned all-sectional honors as a junior when he had four goals and a team-leading 16 assists. “We talk about it to this day and what we would do to go back. We often joke that list should be what we wouldn’t do to go back because that would be a much shorter list. I’ll just treasure that forever.”

His return at midfield earned him preseason USA Today All-American plaudits as a senior as well as a No. 17 national ranking for the Blue Devils. The chance to earn another trophy was derailed with a loss to Collinsville in the sectional, but it didn’t diminish all Sohn had done.

An all-sectional selection as a junior, Sohn earned all-state honors from the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association as a senior and was selected to play in the High School All-American Soccer Game.

“He knew how to control the game and see the game,” former QHS coach Matt Longo said. “Not only did J.D. have great foot skills, he understood how to play with pace and connect with his teammates. He made our teams better every second he was on the field.”

Representing a program rich in tradition made it all the more meaningful for Sohn.

“You put that jersey on and realize some of the people who wore that before you established that tradition and the players who played before you did some great things,” Sohn said. “You realized you had to work for something when you put that on. It wasn’t just like putting on an everyday t-shirt or any other jersey for that matter.”

Sohn enjoyed a stellar career at Maryville University, being named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Freshman of the Year in 2017 and twice earning All-GLVC plaudits. He is currently working in IT in Creve Coeur, Mo., and he holds playing four years of varsity at QHS close to his heart.

“Everything made it fun,” Sohn said. “The group of guys that we had, we had been playing together since Quinsippi (Soccer League). So a lot of it was the people I was playing with. Coach Longo definitely gave everybody a love for the game, a different type of love with the way he coached.

“Playing with those guys … it just felt like we weren’t playing alongside each other but playing for each other. That’s what made it the most special.”

To read more of the Starting XI profiles as they are published, follow the links below:

Speed, skill allow Abbey to develop into dynamic scoring machine

Work ethic enables Bradshaw to seize opportunity to be great

Finding footing as freshman helps Smith become part of tradition

Deft touch, high IQ turn Reeves into one of Blue Devils’ greatest players

Playing up paves way for Sandercock’s Hall of Fame career

Berry becomes maestro at midfield in leading Blue Devils to state tourney

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