Johnson introduces 2009 incoming class
Courtesy: Greg Lautzenheiser  
Release: Tuesday 04/03/2009
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MACOMB, Ill.  -  Western Illinois men’s soccer head coach Dr. Eric Johnson has introduced the 2009 incoming class that will join the team for the 2009 season which include five high school seniors and two junior college players.

The five high school seniors include Whitney Browne, Oskar Gasecki, Timothy Hankins, Husref Jupic and Alex Meine. The two junior college players consist of Jaime Castrejon and Antonio Katic.

“The incoming players have some big shoes to fill, but I think they are qualified to do it,” said Johnson. “They are good people and they will fit in well with our team. Initially, since they will be good teammates and they are competitive athletes, they are really going to help. Overall, we are excited to have this group of athletes join our team.”

Whitney Browne, the younger brother of current Leatherneck Martin Browne, Jr., hails from Osseo Senior High School in Osseo, Minn. The 5-foot-9 forward/midfielder collected 31 goals last season to lead his team to a state championship as well as being named to the all-state first team and earning all-Metro Player of the Year honors.

He was also selected as Minnesota’s Class 2A Mr. Soccer, along with being named an ESPN all-American honorable mention and a finalist for Gatorade’s Player of the Year in Minnesota. From 2006-08, he was a member of the United States Youth Soccer Association regional pool team and the Minnesota Olympic Development Program state soccer team.

Not only has the Osseo, Minn., native won a state title on the soccer field, he also was member of his high school’s 4x100 team that won the state title last year.

“Whitney is a dynamic player and has the potential to score goals from an attacking midfield or forward position ,” said Johnson.

Gasecki, a 6-foot forward/midfielder from Gurnee, Ill., comes to Western after playing soccer at Warren Township High School. He was a two time all-North Suburban Conference selection during his junior and senior seasons as well as playing club soccer for the Metro FC and the Chicago Fire Juniors.

“Oskar is a versatile attacking player that can play wide and in the middle of the field,” said Johnson. “He is very suited for the college game and should compete for playing time as a freshmen.”

Hankins joins the Leathernecks from Edwardsville, Ill., where he played soccer at Edwardsville High School. The 5-foot-9 midfielder was a starter on the his soccer team that took the Illinois Class 3A runner-up trophy in 2008. Hankins also plays club soccer on the Metro United US Development Academy team.

“Tim is a gifted passer and has the ability to create goals for others with his vision and creativity,” said Johnson. “He has a good engine and will provide us with an outside player that can get up and down the wings.”

Jupic, a 5-foot-9 midfielder from Des Moines, Iowa, comes to Western after playing soccer at Des Moines Hoover High School. During his junior season, Jupic scored 15 goals and recorded 20 assists to go along with all-state first-team honors and all-CIML-Metro first-team honors. He also plays club soccer for the Des Moines Menance and won the state championship with the team in 2005 and 2007.

“Husref is a very technical and clever ball handler,” said Johnson. “He is very good in possession and will fit in well with our style of play.”

Meine, a 6-foot-5 goalkeeper from Winona, Minn., has accepted an offer of admission and plans to be part of our 2009 roster after playing soccer and basketball at Winona High School. He did not compete in his senior year of soccer due to an injury.

“He has a tremendous upside with his size and athleticism,” said Johnson. “Alex did not compete in his senior year of soccer due to an injury, but was a starter on the boys basketball team that made it to the quarterfinals of the Minnesota High School Basketball State Tournament this year.”

Castrejon comes to Western after playing  two seasons of junior-college soccer at Lincoln College. The 5-foot-10 midfielder scored 12 goals and recorded 13 assists at Lincoln as well as being named an all-Region 24 selection in both seasons with the team. Before his time at Lincoln, Castrejon played his high school soccer at Waukegan High School in Waukegan, Ill., where he scored 15 goals and registered eight assists during his senior campaign. He was also a member of the Chicago Wind Soccer Club.

“Jaime is capable of playing several positions,” said Johnson. “He is a solid left-footed player that could play wide in mid, or in the back and in the middle of the park as well.”

Antonio Katic, the younger brother of former Leatherneck and current Pittsburgh Riverhound Nikola Katic, joins the Western soccer team after playing his last two seasons with Illinois Central College. Last season, he was the captain of the team and was selected to the all-Region 24 Team for the second consecutive year. In 2007, his ICC team finished the year ranked fifth in the nation and qualified for the national championship tournament.

The Makarska, Croatia, native was the captain of the HNK ZMAJ club team that reached the semifinals of the Croatia Cup Division in 2005 and 2006.

“Antonio is an experienced defender and will help us rebuild our back-line for the 2009 season,” said Johnson.


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