Hononegah soccer player honored with a celebration of life

LOVES PARK, Ill. (WIFR) It is never easy to say goodbye. Hononegah boys soccer captain Cesar Ortega passed away earlier this week after a battle with leukemia.

Saturday, hundreds gathered at the Victory Sports Complex to remember the 18-year-old. Ortega had ten goals and ten assists as a defender in his two plus seasons on varsity. He was named to the NIC-10 first team this past fall. Head coach Vvee Jevremovic said Ortega had a big influence on the soccer community here in the Stateline.

"There's all kinds of soccer clubs here, even clubs he didn't play for," said Jevremovic. "There's people from all around, all different schools."

"His impact was vast and he was such a good kid. This is a very big loss. He does everything the right way. He's very religious, he follows all rules. He is an outstanding young man."

Jevremovic called Ortega the epitome of a person you want to see succeed in life. He praised the family for being so strong at such a difficult time.

"There strength is in their belief and they're going to get through this," said Jevremovic. "I actually don't know how they're doing it right now. Because I know how hard I'm hit, I can't imagine them going through anything like this."

"He was my captain. He led by example. He fought hard on the field, as he fought through his battle with this. He's courageous. Always questioning himself, how can I do better, what can I do better, and always did it with a smile."