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).
“I hope it keeps him focused,” Mattituck coach Mat Litchhult said after the Tuckers’ first practice session of the season on Monday. “I hope that’s a goal for him. I hope he puts the team goals first. … Over four years, I’ve seen a level of maturity grow in him. I think that’s an attainable goal.”
Ilgin was a key to the Tuckers’ success while helping them to the county Class B crown and into the Southeast Regional championship game, which Mattituck lost to Carle Place, 1-0. Ilgin took personal blame for the defeat because he felt he missed some scoring opportunities in overtime.
That seemed a bit harsh, but it also showed maturity as well.
“He had such a wonderful season last year,” Litchhult said. “… He’s a handful to deal with.”
The flip side to Ilgin’s reputation is that he will be a marked man.
“He’s a guy that teams know about already and teams will have to try to game plan for,” Litchhult said. “Hopefully, if a team is trying to take him out of a match tactically, that he goes from scoring to setting up goals.
“He can create goals, score goals like no player that I’ve seen at Mattituck. We’ve had some good players that have come through here. He’s got something special to him.”
Ilgin, who scored 18 goals and assisted on 17 others in 18 games last year, was named an all-region player by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. He was also a first team all-state player, chosen as the 2013 Suffolk County small schools player of the year and selected to Newsday’s all-Long Island first team.