Sixteen years after picking up his first win as head coach of the Hillsboro High School boys soccer team, Jason Burke reached a milestone that few in the sport have attained.
On Tuesday, Sept. 21, Burke picked up win number 200 of his career with a 6-0 victory over Litchfield, improving his overall record to 200-121-19 in 16 seasons at the helm of the Hiltoppers.
Burke’s numbers speak for themselves with three regional titles and 10 straight seasons of .500 or better, with an 11th all but certain for the 9-4-1 Hiltoppers. In his 16 years, Burke has had just two teams with more wins than losses: his first year in 2006, when they went 5-16-1, and in 2010, when they went 8-13.
The Hillsboro native is quick to credit his players over himself, several of whom have gone on to play in college, with dozens more earning all-conference recognition.
The true testament to Burke’s value as a head coach, though, can be seen at almost any home game. It’s common to see players from past teams come up to Burke for a quick word and laugh.
Burke’s care for his players is only surpassed by his care for his family, wife Gina and children Camden and Renna. That extends to raising awareness for Cri du Chat through Camden’s Crew, named after the Burkes’ oldest child who is battling the disease.
The wins show that Burke is a winner off the field and put him in rare air in terms of high school soccer in Illinois, but Burke’s value off the field and in the lives of his players makes him a bigger winner in life.