Soccer lands four-star recruit


Al Rieger

As future members of the Western Illinois men’s soccer team join in with seasoned players, their past accomplishments don’t mean much in terms of Division I soccer. 

However, the latest addition of Jurgen Carabez gives this team serious defensive potential with former player Andy Ryan mentoring the goalkeepers.   

“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,” head coach Eric Johnson said.

Rated as a four-star recruit by, Carabez played for the Sockers FC club in Chicago. He participated in the Nike Manchester United Premier Cup Portland in 2009. His resume goes on and on and his highlight videos on YouTube show that Carabez can punt long down the field.  

Carabez plans to major in accounting and pursue a master’s degree. He said that he chose Western Illinois University because of the education, campus, environment and business department.

He also mentioned his father as the biggest role model in his life.  

“My father is like my best friend,” Carabez said. “He tells me everything I need to know and teaches me what I am doing right and wrong, as he was also a goalkeeper.”

Johnson announced the signing of Carabez and midfielder Diego Lopez from Warsaw, Ind. on Tuesday (March 26), bringing the full signing class to seven.

“I’m very pleased with our 2013 recruiting class,” Johnson 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.”

Lopez was a four-year starter in soccer at Warsaw Community High School. He finished his high school career with 48 goals and 18 assists despite missing the majority of his junior season due to injury.

“Diego Lopez is an attacking player with the proven ability to score goals,” Johnson said. “He is very good in one vs. one situations and very comfortable in possession. 

“He fits in 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.“

This signing class looks to help the Leathernecks win their third straight Summit League title, as Western has also won six of the past nine league championships. However, they have never won a game at the NCAA College Cup. 

This group joins former top prospect Erick Johnson who will be a sophomore next season.

The team opens the spring season this weekend, traveling to Bradley University for a 4 p.m. contest on Saturday.


 JURGEN CARABEZ • Goalkeeper • 5-11 • 175 • Oak Lawn, Ill. • Brother Rice HS

 DIEGO LOPEZ • Forward/Midfielder • 5-6 • 150 • Warsaw, Ind. • Warsaw Community HS

 JACOB BEVAN • Forward • 6-2 • 170 • Oxford, England • Oak Park River Forest HS

 ARMEL KOUASSI • Forward• 5-11 • 165• Homewood, Ill. • Homewood-Flossmoor HS

 FERNANDO PACHECO • Forward • 5-7 • 155 • La Piedad, Michoacan, Mexico • Iowa City HS

 DREW WHALEN • Forward/Midfielder • 6-1 • 170 • Peoria, Ill. • Peoria Notre Dame

 KEVIN WHALEN • Defender/Midfielder • 6-0 • 190 • Peoria, Ill. • Peoria Notre Dame • Illinois 

Central College

—Western Illinois Media Services contributed to this article