04/06/15 11:05pm
04/06/2015 11:05 PM

Kaan Ilgin has made a team. Now, he wants to make the A team.

After trying out for the New York Cosmos B team last week, the Mattituck High School senior was told he had earned a spot on the second team, which will play in the National Premier Soccer League this season.

While the midfielder-forward was quite happy he earned a spot on Cosmos B, he has some higher aspirations as well — the A team — the side that performs in the North American Soccer League. (more…)

04/04/15 2:00pm
04/04/2015 2:00 PM

Mattituck High School soccer standout Kaan Ilgin is trying out for the New York Cosmos B team.

Ilgin, a key component of the Tuckers’ New York State Class B championship team, was among prospective candidates vying for a spot on the Cosmos reserve side that will play in the National Premier Soccer League this spring and summer. (more…)

01/22/15 4:00pm
01/22/2015 4:00 PM
Mattituck High School's first all-American, Kaan Ilgin, right, heard some inspirational words from Sir Alex Ferguson. Mattituck coach Mat Litchhult, left, accompanied Ilgin to Philadelphia for the NSCAA Convention. (Credit: Joy Rubenstein)

Mattituck High School’s first all-American, Kaan Ilgin, right, heard some inspirational words from Sir Alex Ferguson. Mattituck coach Mat Litchhult, left, accompanied Ilgin to Philadelphia for the NSCAA Convention. (Credit: Joy Rubenstein)

While listening to a speech by former Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America all-America luncheon on Saturday, Kaan Ilgin certainly perked up when he heard two words: Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo, as in the Portuguese international, the Real Madrid striker and the 2014 FIFA Best Player in the World and the Mattituck High School senior’s favorite player.

Yeah, that Cristiano Ronaldo. (more…)

12/10/14 12:00pm
12/10/2014 12:00 PM
Mattituck senior Kaan Ilgin received all-American honors after helping lead the Tuckers to a state title this season. (Credit: Sarah Condon)

Mattituck senior Kaan Ilgin received all-American honors after helping lead the Tuckers to a state title this season. (Credit: Sarah Condon)

As well as the Mattituck High School boys soccer team played on the field, the Tuckers cleaned up off it as well.

After earning their third New York State championship last month, the Tuckers were among the major highlights of the Suffolk County Boys Soccer Coaches Association awards banquet in Holbrook on Monday night. (more…)

11/24/14 2:27pm
11/24/2014 2:27 PM
Kaan Ilgin scored twice in Mattituck's win for the Class B county title earlier this month. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Kaan Ilgin scored twice in Mattituck’s win for the Class B county title earlier this month. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

It has turned into quite a whirlwind 10 days for Kaan Ilgin.

On Nov. 15, the senior forward scored two goals in Mattituck’s 3-0 Class B victory over Beekmantown, which clinched the team’s first New York State boys soccer championship in 11 years and third overall. He was named the final’s most valuable player and awarded a special game ball.

Later that day, Ilgin and the Tuckers were feted with a Mattituck Fire Department escort on their way to a celebration at the school.

On Nov. 17, he learned he was invited to the High School All-American Game.

On Nov. 18, Ilgin and his teammates were honored at the Mattituck Board of Education meeting.

And now he is considering turning pro. (more…)

11/15/14 9:05am
11/15/2014 9:05 AM
Mattituck's Kaan Ilgin was one of three players selected as all-state this season. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Mattituck’s Kaan Ilgin was one of three players selected as all-state this season. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

On the eve of their state Class B semifinal game, three Mattituck Tuckers were named to the New York State small schools boys soccer all-state team during opening ceremonies in Middletown on Friday night.  (more…)

11/04/14 1:59pm
11/04/2014 1:59 PM
Mattituck's Kaan Ilgin, pictured in the team's game against Southampton, scored two goals in Tuesday's win over Wheatley in the Class B Long Island title game. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Mattituck’s Kaan Ilgin, pictured in the team’s game against Southampton, scored two goals in Tuesday’s win over Wheatley in the Class B Long Island title game. (Credit: Garret Meade)

There is little doubt that Mattituck High School is the team to beat in the New York State Class B boys high school soccer tournament.

A day after assuming the top-ranking among Class B schools, the Tuckers went out and demonstrated why they deserved that honor, earning a 4-1 triumph over Wheatley to win the Long Island championship at Adelphi University in Garden City Tuesday. (more…)

08/25/14 8:44pm
08/25/2014 8:44 PM
Mattituck coach Mat Litchhult talking to Kaan Ilgin during a water break during Monday morning's practice. Ilgin is one of 28 players in New York State to be named to TopDrawerSoccer.com's All-America Watch List. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Mattituck coach Mat Litchhult talking to Kaan Ilgin during a water break at Monday morning’s practice. Ilgin is one of 28 players in New York State to be named to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s All-America Watch List. (Credit: Garret Meade)

After earning several individual honors following the 2013 high school boys soccer season, there is little doubt that Kaan Ilgin’s reputation precedes him as one of the most dangerous players around these days.

Without scoring a goal or creating one, playing a game and taking a competitive kick, the Mattituck High School senior forward has been awarded yet another honor and a challenge. He was named one of 28 players in New York to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s fall boys All-America Watch List. Only five players from Suffolk County and six from Long Island public schools made the list (TopDrawerSoccer covers youth, high school and college soccer). (more…)

07/29/14 9:28am
07/29/2014 9:28 AM
Mattituck's Kaan Ilgin, left, fights for possession of the ball with Southold's Shayne Johnson. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Mattituck’s Kaan Ilgin, left, fights for possession of the ball with Southold’s Shayne Johnson. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

During a remarkable 3-minute 29-second span early in the second half of Mattituck’s 4-1 victory over North Fork rival Southold on Monday, midfielder Kaan Ilgin reminded the world why he earned Suffolk County small schools player of the year honors as a junior last fall.

First, Ilgin scored off a spectacular volley to snap a 1-1 tie in the Town of Brookhaven Boys Soccer Summer League small-school quarterfinal match before chipping the goalkeeper for a 3-1 lead at Diamond in the Pines in Coram. (more…)

12/18/13 6:00pm
12/18/2013 6:00 PM
GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Mattituck junior forward Kaan Ilgin has received a flood of honors recently, not the least of which was being named an All-Region player.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Mattituck junior forward Kaan Ilgin has received a flood of honors recently, not the least of which was being named an All-Region player.

Kaan Ilgin has yet to play his senior season, and he may very well already be the most celebrated soccer player Mattituck High School has ever had.

Earlier this month, Ilgin was named an All-Region player by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Mattituck coach Mat Litchhult said he believes Ilgin is the first Mattituck player to have that honor bestowed upon him.

In addition, the junior forward from Turkey was also a first team All-State player, made Newsday’s All-Long Island first team, and was selected as the Suffolk County Small Schools Player of the Year. That’s quite a postseason haul of hardware for one of the most skillful players the Tuckers have ever seen.

“He’s got the most skill and talent as anyone who has ever played at Mattituck,” Litchhult said. The coach added: “Some of the things he does on the field, it’s mind-boggling to me. The talent is there.”

No doubt about it. Ilgin was instrumental in Mattituck’s impressive 2013 season, which saw the team go 15-3, all of the losses coming by 1-0 scores in double overtime, including a loss to Carle Place in a Southeast Region Class B semifinal. Ilgin put up 18 goals and 17 assists, playing in all 18 games.

“His balance between goals and setting people up” helped the team the most, Litchhult said. “Eighteen goals and 17 assists really speaks for itself. Teams know and they’re going to know when they play Mattituck, you’re going to have to stop Kaan Ilgin.”

That’s a lot easier said than done.

Ilgin’s felicity with the ball is reminiscent of the playing style of a former Mattituck player, Kevin Litchhult, the coach’s younger brother who scored 27 goals his senior season in 1999.

“I think on the ball, skill-wise, Kaan’s talent is I would say better, but Kevin’s nose for the goal and goal-scoring ability is better,” said Mat Litchhult.

The All-Region level is one step below being an All-American, something Ilgin can shoot for next season.

“He has another year to go,” Mat Litchhult said. “I think next year could be a year for even bigger things for him.”

Two other Tuckers made the All-State team, junior center back Paul Hayes and junior forward Mario Arreola. Mattituck’s senior goalkeeper, Stephen Ostrowski, received the John Ruffini Award for recording 10 shutouts this past season.

PORTERS CALLED GOOD SPORTS A huge three-and-a-half-foot trophy was sitting in a Greenport High School classroom on Tuesday. Why wasn’t it displayed in the school’s trophy showcase?

Quite simply because it will not fit. It’s also too big to put in the main office, said Chris Golden, coach of the Greenport/Shelter Island boys soccer team, so the perpetual Suffolk County Soccer Officials Sportsmanship Award remains for now in the classroom where Golden teaches history.

The Porters were presented with the award this month for the second year in a row and for the third time over all (they also earned it in 2003). No other team has won the award, which dates back to 1989, that many times before, and the only other teams to receive the honor more than once are Hauppauge (2001 and 2002) and Bayport-Blue Point (2009 and 2010), according to Golden.

This past season the Porters were young, inexperienced and finished with a 3-11 record, but the sportsmanship honor undoubtedly brightened up their year.

“Last year I was honored, but this year I don’t think I could really use words to convey how appreciative I am of the boys on the team and everyone who is a part of Greenport soccer,” Golden said. “This means a lot. It means a lot to the kids. It means a lot to the school and the community.”

The Porters were shown only two yellow cards this past season and not one red card. The criteria for the award takes into account the whole school setting and environment that soccer officials experience when they work games. Golden said it reflects everyone associated with the program, including the players, coaches and fans. He said it adds up to a sense that Greenport is a welcoming place.

Golden said he is not big on rules for his team, but he does emphasize one rule. “Treat everybody with respect,” he said. “That’s the big one.”

Concerning his players, Golden said: “We spend a lot of time talking about the importance of handling yourself, not only as an athlete, but as a person. I love to win. We all want to win. You can’t guarantee a win, but you can work toward being the best possible student-athlete that you can be.”

“I’m more concerned with the kids as people,” he continued. “I see too much negative in youth sports, too much negative in high school sports, and it doesn’t have to be that way.”

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COURTESY PHOTO | From left, junior varsity coach Tom Taylor, Ryan Weingart, Byron Rivas, Eddie Rogers and coach Chris Golden show off awards they won, including the Suffolk County Soccer Officials Sportsmanship Award.

COURTESY PHOTO | From left, junior varsity coach Tom Taylor, Ryan Weingart, Byron Rivas, Eddie Rogers and coach Chris Golden show off awards Greenport/Shelter Island won, including the Suffolk County Soccer Officials Sportsmanship Award.