Corona aiming for post-college success


Northern Star File Photo

Senior midfielder Adrian Corona launches a pass in NIU’s Aug. 26, 2021 win over Purdue-Fort Wayne.

Fifth-year senior midfielder Adrian Corona’s most outstanding accomplishment in his soccer career is winning the Mid-American Conference championship in 2021, but he believes his greatest accomplishment has yet to come.

Corona was born and raised in Plainfield, Illinois. He started playing competitive soccer at 7 years old when his dad entered him in the American Youth Soccer Organization. Growing up, soccer was the only sport Corona played competitively. He played other sports such as football, basketball and kickball recreationally.

Corona’s favorite soccer player is Paris Saint-Germain F.C. forward and modern soccer legend Lionel Messi. When Corona started watching soccer, Messi was the first player he saw.

“The way Messi dribbled, passed and scored was the most incredible thing I ever saw,” Corona said. “I try to model my game after Messi.”

Corona said his favorite soccer position is midfield.

Corona was a member of the Chicago Fire Academy team from 2015 to 2019. He described the academy’s coaching as high-level and that they prepared him for college.

“It was an amazing experience, and it’s a very professional setting where everyone is focused on soccer, there are no distractions,” Corona said.

Corona was invited to visit NIU by the previous coaching regime. The campus being close to home played a big part in Corona’s decision to join the Huskies. He said he wanted to have family nearby so they would be able to attend his games. Plainfield is an hour south of DeKalb.

Head coach Ryan Swan expressed how he saw potential in Corona when recruiting him.

“We thought he was set to play at the college level because of his technical skills and desire to compete,” Swan said. “He was a competitive person, and that’s the reason we recruited him.”

Swan said Corona came to NIU and immediately claimed the starting spot and has been an important player since being on the team.

“I’ve seen growth in his leadership role and his accountability, and I think he’s stepping out to be a good leader for us,” Swan said.

Swan said that when the coaches have internal discussion about who they think is NIU’s player of the year, Corona is always in discussion.

Corona’s role model is his dad. He’s a big influence to Corona because his dad didn’t get the chance to play competitive soccer because he didn’t have the support of his own parents. Corona says his dad has given him the most support since playing soccer.

Corona said when he is down, his dad brings him up and gives him the confidence to keep going. His dad always tells him that if he’s having a bad game or a bad experience, things are going to be ok.

Corona’s dad would tell him his worst moments will be learning moments.

“It’s just one game, it doesn’t define who you are and it’s going to help you grow as a person and player,” Corona’s dad said.

Corona used to go into games to make his dad proud, but now his main motivation is to keep succeeding and enjoy playing the game.

He chose midfield as his primary position because he said you can attack, defend and control the game.

“Midfielders are very involved in the game, and they dictate the tempo and who controls the game,” Corona said.

He said those aspects would make him continue to play midfielder throughout his soccer career.

Corona likes going to the NIU Recreation Center to play basketball and pickle ball in his free time. He likes to watch anime, movies and sports. Corona’s favorite anime is Hunter x Hunter.

He enjoys going to live concerts such Lollapalooza and hopes to go the Summer Smash festival in Chicago in the future.

Corona also plays for the Kalamazoo Football Club Summer League Team with his teammate, redshirt senior forward Enrique Banuelos, during the offseason.

Banuelos described Corona as a team player.

“He’s a player you could always count on on the field no matter what,” Banuelos said. “He’s a massive support for the team’s balance, both defensively and offensively.”

Corona majors in business administration and believes his major can take him in various directions.

“I chose business administration because it’s a jack of all trades between the majors,” Corona said. “You can take some marketing, finance and OMIS (operations management and information systems) classes, and it gives you a scope into each one of those different majors.”

Corona said if soccer dreams don’t work out, he has a job aligned to work with his brother at AT&T.

The ultimate goal for Corona is to play professional soccer. He said he plans to give himself six months to find a professional team that will sign him after graduation.