MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois head men's soccer coach Dr. Eric Johnson announced the signing of two future Leathernecks on Friday (April 19), bringing the full incoming class to eight freshmen and a junior heading into 2013.
"I'm very pleased with our 2013 recruiting class,"said. "These 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.
Western currently holds a 2-1-1 spring record, with a trio of games remaining against Lincoln College, Oakton C.C. and Quincy.
BEN FIDDES • Midfielder • 6-0 • 165 • Peoria, Ill. • Peoria Notre Dame HS
JOHNSON'S TAKE: "Ben is a very technical left-footed player. He is very good in possession and an adept passer of the ball. He comes to us from a very good high school program and has the mentality to succeed at the college level."
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 15 goals and 22 assists during his senior season...Two-time All-Conference honoree, also earning All-Area honors his senior year.
PERSONAL: Born Dec. 15, 1994...Son of Kevin and Kathy Fiddes...Majoring in Business Marketing...High school teammate of fellow newcomers Drew and Kevin Whalen...Chose Western Illinois because "I really like that the team plays a possession style, and I know coach Johnson will push me to become a much better player...I loved the campus and the school offers a great education"...Most memorable moment in sports was winning the state championship his senior season...Lists his travel coach John Gaspar as a major influence on his career: "I have trained with him ever since I started playing. He taught me all of my foot skills and how to read the game."
DONALD TICKNOR • Goalkeeper • 6-3 • 180 • Waterloo, Iowa • Waterloo West HS
JOHNSON'S TAKE: "Donald is an athletic goalkeeper with tremendous potential. He has good size and soft hands. Once he acclimates to the college game he has the potential to become an important part of our yearly goal of winning Summit League Championships."
HIGH SCHOOL: Attended Waterloo West, earning three varsity letters under coach Michael Penning...Earned All-Conference honors his junior year, saving 213 saves in 18 games...Served as team captain for both his high school and club team, the Cedar Valley Select.
PERSONAL: Born March 29, 1995...Son of Larry and Paula Ticknor...Majoring in Pre-Pharmacy...Mother played basketball at Ashford University...Chose Western because "I liked the campus and it's a great fit academically and athletically"...Lists his family and coaches as influences on his career for pushing him to be the best at everything he does.
Previous signees are listed below:
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... Rated as a three-star recruit by TopDrawerSoccer.com... 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 brothers and 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... Club teammate of fellow freshman Jurgen Carabez.
JURGEN CARABEZ • Goalkeeper • 5-11 • 175 • Oak Lawn, Ill. • Brother Rice HS
JOHNSON'S TAKE: "Jurgen is a talented goalkeeper. He is very good with his feet and has soft hands. His experience with Sockers FC USDAA Academy side has prepared him well for the college game."
HIGH SCHOOL: Played for the Sockers FC club team... Rated as a four-star recruit by TopDrawerSoccer.com... Rated as the #19 recruit in the Midwest region by TopDrawerSoccer.com in the 2013 class... Participated in Real Madrid FC's Technical Skill Camp in 2011... Three-year member of the U.S. Developmont Academy for Sockers FC Chicago... Participated in the Nike Manchester United Premier Cup Portland in 2009... 2009 Illinois State Cup Semi-Finalist... 2010 U.S. Youth Soccer Region 2 Championships Semi-Finalist... Participated in the U.S. Youth Soccer National League in 2010 and 2011, and also played in the Dallas Cup in three seasons.
PERSONAL: Born Sept. 28, 1994... Son of Jose M. and Evagelina Carabez... Majoring in Accounting... Chose Western Illinois for its education, campus, and environment, as well as for its business department "in which I plan on receiving my master's in Accounting"... Lists attending Real Madrid's soccer camp as a memorable moment: "[it] gave me the opportunity to experience how European soccer is played, and playing in a whole different soccer environment with talented players from Europe"... lists his father as a major influence, stating "My father is like my best friend. He tells me everything I need to know and teaches me what I am doing right and wrong, as he was also a goalkeeper"... Hobbies include playing and watching soccer, listening to music and spending time with family... Club teammate of fellow freshman Jacob Bevan.
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.
DIEGO LOPEZ • Forward/Midfielder • 5-6 • 150 • Warsaw, Ind. • Warsaw Community HS
JOHNSON'S TAKE: "Diego Lopez is an attacking player with the proven ability to score goals. He is very good in 1 v. 1 situations and very comfortable in possession. He fits in with with our style of play and will compete to play as a forward or attacking midfielder. He has had success with his Fort Wayne Fever soccer club as well as being selected to the all-state team for his high school team"
HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year starter in soccer at Warsaw Community HS under head coach Scott Bauer... Finished his high school career with 48 goals and 18 assists despite missing the majority of his junior season due to injury... Named First Team All-State his senior year... Helped team to three consecutive Final Four state appearances, including a runner-up performance in 2012... Four-time All-Conference honoree, as well as two-time All-District recipient... Two-time state champion on his club team, the Fort Wayne Fever.
PERSONAL: Born Nov. 13, 1994... Son of Amelia Castro... Majoring in Engineering... Brother, Corey Lopez, is entering his sophomore season at Indiana Wesleyan... Chose Western Illinois for the team's success and the talent of the players... Lists his coaches as a major influence on his career because "they have taught me a lot about the sport"... hobbies include playing soccer and FIFA, spending time with friends and working out.
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 student ambassador.
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."