Brian Papa is a legendary name in Illinois high school soccer and he added another milestone to his storied career on April 16 when his Lincoln-Way East squad defeated St Viator 2-1 in the PepsiCo Showdown at Olympic Park in Schaumburg. The victory marked the 800th total win in Papa’s storied career, making him one of three high school soccer coaches in the nation to reach that mark.
On April 24, PepsiCo Showdown staff honored Papa’s milestone by presenting him with a framed photo of the stoic coach sitting on the bench during the 800th victory match, with a "Making A Difference" fieldsign captured perfectly in the foreground (above
). Brian Hertz, a member of Papa's 1993 Sandburg IHSA state championship team is pictured on the right, while current team members, including Caroline Kilrea who scored both goals in the 800th victory match, are pictured on the left with the cake.
Currently in his 35th year coaching, Papa’s career began at Bloom in 1982 and included time at Sandburg, Lincoln-Way and Lincoln-Way East. He has a 452-212-36 record as a boys coach and entered the 2016 season with a 336-216-33 mark as a girls coach. He's one of three coaches in Illinois to win more than 300 games in both boys and girls soccer.
Papa’s final regular-season match will come on May 10, ironically against Sandburg, which is where he won a boys state title in 1993.