MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois head men's soccer coach Dr. Eric Johnson announced a signing class of five future Leathernecks on Monday (Feb. 11).
The recruiting class includes natives of England, Mexico, Illinois and Iowa; four from high school and one from the junior college ranks.
"I'm very pleased with our 2013 recruiting class,"said. "These five young men will help us to continue to compete for Summit League Championships. They are athletic, intelligent, technical players and more importantly are very competitive individuals. They have some big shoes to fill considering the quality of our graduating seniors, but they have the potential to impact the program right away."
This signing class will look to help the Leathernecks win their third straight Summit League crown, as Western has also won six of the past nine league titles.
JACOB BEVAN • Forward • 6-2 • 170 • Oxford, England • Oak Park River Forest HS
JOHNSON'S TAKE: "Jacob is an athletic lefty who can play out wide or up top. He runs really well and it will be interesting to see him develop physically over the next four years."
HIGH SCHOOL: Played club soccer for Sockers FC Chicago...Full-time academy player since 2010...Scored a goal against Manchester United's academy team in 2009...Runner-up in President's Day Cup in Phoenix in 2009, as Bevan scored seven goals over five games...Honor roll student.
PERSONAL: Born Sep. 20, 1994...Son of Mark and Shirley Bevan...Majoring in Exercise Science...Chose Western for its athletic and academic programs, and environment...Lists his family as his biggest influences because of their advice, support, and willingness to help him improve...Most memorable sporting moment was playing against Manchester United Youth in England.
ARMEL KOUASSI • Forward • 5-11 • 165 • Homewood, Ill. • Homewood-Flossmoor HS
JOHNSON'S TAKE: "Armel can play numerous positions. He has good size and pace and we see him helping us either in the back line or up top as a target forward. He also has the ability to play as a holding midfielder."
HIGH SCHOOL: Three-year varsity letterwinner at Homewood-Flossmoor High School...Earned all-conference and honorable mention all-area honors his senior year...Also played volleyball.
PERSONAL: Born April 25, 1995...Son of Tara Goodwin...Chose Western because of the soccer team's success, as well as its academic reputation and campus experience...Lists his dad as a major influence on his sports career for introducing him to the sport and helping him learn and understand the game...Enjoys music, especially playing the guitar.
FERNANDO PACHECO • Forward • 5-7 • 155 • La Piedad, Michoacan, Mexico • Iowa City HS
JOHNSON'S TAKE: "Fernando is a quick and skillful forward who can also play attacking mid or out on the wing. He is very good on the ball and is a playmaker."
HIGH SCHOOL: Played at Iowa City HS with current sophomore Tyler Chavez...Also played club soccer with current sophomore Patrick Bunting...Earned four varsity letters under head coach Jose Fajardo...Twice named all-state, once to the first team and once to the second team...Earned first team all-conference honors twice...Mississippi Valley Athlete of the Year his junior season by scoring 20 goals and tallying 17 assists over 18 games.
PERSONAL: Born Dec. 21, 1993...Son of Maria A. Pacheco and Jorge Pacheco...Majoring in Business Administration...Chose Western for the atmosphere the soccer team showed on his visit, the proximity of classrooms and athletic facilities on campus, and the chance to play with former teammates...Most memorable moment in sports was traveling to Italy and Austria with his Region 2 ODP team...Hobbies include playing ping-pong, FIFA, and watching movies...Admires Andrés Iniesta for his amazing dribbling and skills with the ball.
DREW WHALEN • Forward/Midfielder • 6-1 • 170 • Peoria, Ill. • Peoria Notre Dame
JOHNSON'S TAKE: "Drew is a goal scorer. He is very good in the air and has a nose for finding the ball in scoring positions. He is technical and can hold the ball up as well."
HIGH SCHOOL: Attended Peoria Notre Dame, where he was a part of state championship teams in 2010 and 2012,
as well as finishing state runners-up in 2009 and finishing third in
2011...Totaled 35 goals and 25 assists his senior season...Finished 2011
with 20 goals and 11 assists after recording six goals and five assists
in 2010...Earned Honorable Mention All-American honors in 2012...Was
also named all-state, all-sectional, all-conference, and all-area...Team finished 2012 ranked seventh in the nation...2010 team finished ranked fourth nationally...Named Peoria Journal Star Co-Player of the Year...Earned
four varsity letters in soccer under head coach Mike Bare, and also
lettered three times in tennis...Two-time tennis state
qualifier...Member of the National Honor Society, and also served as a
PERSONAL: Born May 23, 1995...Son of Dan and Coleen Whalen...Majoring in Business...Brother, Kevin, played soccer at Illinois Central College for two years and will be joining Drew in the Purple & Gold in 2013...Chose Western for its great soccer program and playing style, as well as head coach Dr. Eric Johnson's coaching reputation...Also mentioned the importance of Western's prestigious business program...Most memorable sporting moments were winning state titles in 2010 and 2012...Lists his brother, Kevin, as a major influence for introducing him to soccer and pushing him to improve...Hobbies include hanging with friends and playing soccer and ping pong.
KEVIN WHALEN • Defender/Midfielder • 6-0 • 190 • Peoria, Ill. • Peoria Notre Dame • Illinois Central College
JOHNSON'S TAKE: "Kevin can play out wide in the back or midfield and is athletic and physical enough to play as a center back. He is two-footed and his JUCO experience at ICC will help him adjust to the Division I game quickly."
AT ILLINOIS CENTRAL COLLEGE: Team finished fifth at the national tournament in 2012...Totaled seven goals and nine assists in 2011...Added a goal and a pair of assists in 2012...Honor Roll student.
HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year soccer letterwinner under head coach Mike Bare...Part of state championship teams in 2008 and 2010...Also finished as runners up at state in 2009...Named to the 2010 all-area team, and 2009 Colonel Classic all-tournament team...Finished his senior season with 16 goals and 20 assists...Totaled 11 goals and 15 assists in 2009...In his sophomore season, notched four goals and nine assists after totaling a goal and two assists in his freshman campaign...Honor Roll student.
PERSONAL: Born Dec. 27, 1992...Son of Dan and Coleen Whalen...Majoring in Criminal Justice...Brother, Drew, joins Kevin as a freshman in the Purple & Gold in 2013 after the duo played together for two years in high school...Chose Western because he liked the campus and Western's style of play, also stating it was a great academic fit...Most memorable sporting moments include scoring a goal in the 2010 state title game and finishing fifth at the national tournament at ICC in 2012...Lists his parents as a major influence: "They have been there for me and done all they could to help me with my athletics."