Anthony Markanich aims to continue building his legacy, help lead NIU to postseason play

Northern Illinois University’s Anthony Markanich was named to the All-MAC Second Team as a freshman in 2018 and followed that up with back-to-back All-MAC First Team selections in 2019 and 2020. “It is really good to have those accolades, but I don’t think that I would have them without the team,” Markanich told BGN. “The people behind me, the team behind me, have been very important to my success.”

With five goals and three assists already this season and his team’s record sitting at 8-1, Markanich is on his way to achieving his goals for 2021. He said, “My goal individually is to be a First Team All-MAC player again and, for the team, to win the MAC and get a bid to the NCAA Tournament.”

While Anthony is a senior this season, it may not be the final stretch of his NIU career. The NCAA offered an additional year to athletes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on sports the last year and a half. “As far as the additional year, we’ll see how it goes, if I have the right professional opportunity I will go that route, but if not then yes, I will take my fifth year,” Markanich said.

One exciting professional opportunity would be playing in Major League Soccer with the Chicago Fire as Anthony played for the club’s Academy team. “I grew up with the Fire and played with the Fire Academy, but my last two years (prior to NIU) I played high school,” the Bourbonnais, Illinois native said. “It would be awesome to play professionally for the Fire.”

But, for now, his focus will be on helping Northern Illinois continue an impressive start to the season. They are looking for their eighth consecutive win following their only loss of the season (vs. Notre Dame) when they face MAC foe Western Michigan tomorrow.

Lucky enough for NIU, Anthony is not the only Markanich on the roster. His identical twin brother, Nick, is a star for the Huskies and is at the top of the scoring list across the NCAA. Over the weekend, Anthony assisted on Nick’s game-winning goal vs. Green Bay. “The chemistry between me and him is something that you can’t explain,” Anthony said. “On the field you can just see it, the chemistry that we have, it is awesome to have him as a teammate.”

While they’re on the same team now and are the top two scorers for the Huskies, Anthony shared that they definitely enjoyed going head-to-head growing up. He said, “We were always competing, ever since we were young we were always competing in everything, PlayStation, basketball, anything we would compete in.”

It’s never easy to give a sibling too much credit, but I had to ask Anthony what are two things that he’s better at than Nick and vice versa. “I’m better than Nick at everything (said with a laugh) but probably golf and baseball, but he is better than me at basketball and definitely in school,” he answered.

Carson A Merk

Reporting live from Sin City, I have covered both RGVFC and Las Vegas Lights FC since their inceptions. I also write profiles to highlight players from the NCAA to USL to NWSL and everywhere in between.