New Trier's rising junior class is arguably the best in the state (rival Loyola is right there).
Following the announcement that standout Trevian forward Kelly Maday has made an oral commitment to attend Illinois, two more key players from the Trevians' 31-1 Class 3A state champion team have followed in her path.
Midfielder Bina Saipi committed to DePaul and goalie Dani Kaufman is set to play college soccer at Maryland.
Both players just returned from the club nationals in Germantown, Maryland, as starters on the Northbrook-based FC Select United U-16 edition that reached the semifinals before losing to Tampa Bay United 97 Premier.
It has been a gilded and whirlwind for the two teammates. Saipi started all 32 games for the Trevians and scored five goals and distributed seven assists as an attacking midfielder in the Trevians' attack. After alternating with Michelle Sokal in the first month of the season, Kaufman played the majority of minutes as the Trevians' keeper.
She allowed just six goals in 23 games. After allowing two goals (one on a penalty kick) against Waubonsie Valley in the Trevians' only loss in the championship game of the Naperville Invitational, Kaufman closed out the year with a remarkable flury. She did not concede a goal in the Trevians' final 11 games, including all seven of the state tournament matches.
Saipi said the Blue Demons' combination of proximity to the North Shore, athletics and academics was too good to pass up. "I wanted my family to come out to as many games and watch me play," she said. "I loved the school and the campus and I thought the coach [Erin Chastain] was really nice. You could see she really cares about her players."
Former Trevian star Jessica Weaver is a rising sophomore at DePaul.
Saipi said since she has worked hard to refine and develop her game in the summer. "I really wanted to work on my first touch, and just build up my feet," she said, before continuing, "dribbling series, perfecting my shot and getting to every through ball."
By committing to new Big Ten program Maryland, Kaufman achieved her own dream. "My whole life I have dreamed about playing Division I soccer in the Big Ten," she said. "Both of my parents graduated from the University of Michigan, and I spent a lot of time there, growing up, going to football games on the weekends."
In the fall of 2013, she was visiting her brother Aaron, a student at George Washington, and he suggested she take a look at the program. "I just loved the campus," she said. Maryland's coaches watched her play at the nationals and were suitably impressed by her tenacity, speed and quickness. "Everything fell into place," she said. "They gave me an offer, and I took it."
Not having a chance to play for the national title is about the only thing that has not gone according to their script. "It's been really crazy, coming off the state win for New Trier and then starting regionals for FC United," Kaufman said. "It's just been go go go.
"Losing [in the national semifinals] left us with a bad taste, but we help each other up when we fall and it made for a great experience."