Athletics, Local, Park Forest, Schools

Prairie State College Men’s Soccer Team to Host National Championship Celebration

Men's Soccer National Champs Prairie State College
Men’s Soccer National Champs Prairie State College

Chicago Heights, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Prairie State College (PSC) men’s soccer earned the school’s first national championship in athletics last week with a 1-0 win over Morton in the NJCAA Division II championship match.

Hard-working, team-oriented, blue-collared, resilient, and with maybe just a touch of a chip on its shoulder.
In many ways, the Prairie State men’s soccer team is a mirror image of the town where its school resides.
Chicago Heights is also a proud community; that night, those who live there could brim with pride over the hometown community college’s men’s soccer program.
Thanks in part to an incredible goal off the foot of freshman defender Josh Matiscik and airtight defense, the Pioneers downed longtime foe Morton College 1-0 in the NJCAA Men’s Soccer Final.
The national championship represents PSC’s first in school history in any sport.
PSC closes out the campaign with an overall record of 17-4.
Saturday’s title match puts the finishing touches on an amazing tournament run by PSC.  Entering the national championships as an at-large 11-seed, the Pioneers took down No. 2 seed Jones College, top seed Phoenix College and the fourth-seeded Panthers.
The championship bout also represented the third time that Prairie State faced Morton this year.  The Panthers bested PSC by a goal on both occasions, with the most recent coming in the Region IV championship match.
Both clubs picked their spots to attack in the opening half and went into the intermission scoreless.
Matiscik’s marker came after a PSC red card had given Morton a man advantage in the 67th minute.
The 6-foot Matiscik was upended and tumbled to turf in the 74th, losing the ball.  An alert Matiscik jumped to his feet, outrunning a Morton defender as the keeper strayed too far out and chipped in the would-be game-winner.
As he had been all tournament long,  PSC freshman goalkeeper Igor Mrvalgevic stood tall once again, turning away seven shots.

Now that the hard part is over, it is time to celebrate. PSC will host a gathering at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 1, in the atrium of the main campus, located at 202 S. Halsted in Chicago Heights.

Several PSC administrators will speak at the event, including President Dr. Michael Anthony and Director of Athletics Joe Belcaster. Head Coach Carlos Reyes will also say a few words. There will be picture opportunities with the team, Parker, the school’s mascot, and the national championship trophy. T-shirts, pom poms, and pizza will be given away while supplies last.

“This is an opportunity to remember and honor a once-in-a-lifetime, history-making performance by these young men,” Dr. Anthony said. “I am so proud of the effort the team put forth. This accomplishment is something that will never be forgotten by myself or the College community.”

PSC’s championship squad features an eclectic mix of players from various local high schools and 12 countries, many of whom will speak at the celebration.

Local players are from Harvey, Chicago, Hammond, Homewood, and one player from Chicago Heights. International players hail from Montenegro, England, Montenegro, Switzerland, Congo, Togo, and Brazil.

JoseAngel Zapata of Chicago Heights
JoseAngel Zapata of Chicago Heights (PSC)

One player from Chicago Heights, Joseangel Zapata, is a sophomore from Bloom Trail High School.

A full list of players and where they are from is below.

Prairie State College Men’s Soccer Roster

  • Fernando Cervantez (Chicago, IL, St Laurence)
  • Igor Mrvalgevic (Montenegro)
  • Dylan Hawley (England)
  • Juan Zambrano (Harvey, IL, Thornton)
  • Eduardo Garcia (Hammond, IN, Hammond)
  • Mun Thang Thawng (Germany)
  • Khalis Toussaint (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Luis Ramirez (Homewood, IL, H-F)
  • Bruno Guggiari (Paraguay)
  • Jibriel Gedo (Moorhead, MN, Moorhead)
  • Jose Rico (Mexico, Reavis)
  • Stefano Mazzariol (Venezuela)
  • Julian Martinez (Whiting, IN, George Washington)
  • Mael Graf (Switzerland)
  • Joseangel Zapata (Chicago Heights, IL, Bloom Trail)
  • Leo Magana (Melrose Park, IL, St. Patrick)
  • Joshua Matiscik (Highland, IN, Illiana Christian)
  • Eli Garnica (Oak Forest, IL, Tinley Park)
  • Angel Arismendiz (Chicago, IL, George Washington)
  • Magloire Makila (Congo)
  • Leo Dutra (Brazil)
  • Agbokou Geoffroy (Togo)
Men's soccer celebration flyer Prairie State

Directions to Main Campus:

202 S. Halsted St., Chicago Heights, IL 60411

From the north:

  1. Drive south on I-94 to the I-80 west exit.
  2. Follow I-80 west about two miles to Halsted Street south exit (Route 1).
  3. Take Halsted Street south, about three miles to the campus.

Parking Lot A is closest to the atrium.