Feb. 9, 2011
Photo Gallery - 2011 Signing Class
MILWAUKEE – Marquette University head men’s soccer coach Louis Bennett has announced his incoming class for 2011. Next year’s class, Bennett’s sixth since joining MU in 2006, will include three international players, along with one top local talent.
Already enrolled at Marquette and participating in the team’s off-season workouts, which began in January, are Swedish freshmen Sebastian Jansson and Axel Sjӧberg. They will be joined this incoming fall by Ghanaian James “C” Nortey and South Milwaukee’s Kelmend Islami, who both signed National Letters of Intent.
“It’s a small but precise class,” said Bennett, whose squad loses just four seniors while returning eight starters from last year’s team that advanced to the BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Championship quarterfinals for the first time since joining the league in 2005.
“They bring a maturity and strength in positions in which we’ve lost seniors. This class comes in right after a great 2010 class. We are continuing to add high-quality players, and a foreign contingent, so for that we are really excited. “
||South Milwaukee, Wis.
||South Milwaukee H.S.
||FC Milwaukee/Croatian Eagles
|James "C" Nortey
||Hotchkiss School (Conn.)
Sebastian Jansson | 5-8 | MF | Sӧdertӓlje, Sweden | Vackstanӓs Gym | Enhӧrna IF
A left-footed wing, Jansson played with Enhörna IF, a top Swedish football club, since the age of six where he was named the squad’s top player in his age group each season from 2004-08 and again in 2010 … Led club in points five times and was the team’s leading goal scorer in 2006, while Enhörna advanced to the highest league among youth teams during his tenure … Helped Enhörna win the Ӧrebro Cup – one of the largest youth tournaments in Sweden – in 2005, 2006 and 2007 … Also played with Sӧdermanland provincial team from 2006 until 2008, helping the club to a third-place finish nationally in 2006 … Grew up playing ice hockey for Sӧdertӓlje SK, which is a member of “Elitserien,” or the Swedish Elite League, the topmost hockey league in Sweden … Won the junior division in 2008 while with Sӧdertӓlje … Was ranked among the top 60 youth hockey players in Sweden and received a tryout with the internationally-regarded Swedish men’s national ice hockey team … Born Nov. 8, 1991 in Sӧdertӓlje, Sweden … Son of Lennart and Sussane Jansson … Intends to major in business marketing … Attended secondary school at Vackstanӓs Gymnasium.
Coach Bennett on Jansson: “Sebastian is quick, and he’s left-footed and can play left midfield, forward and left half back. He exudes an air of confidence in his play. Sebastian will give us that extra dynamic in that he can transition from a defensive position into offense, and he can get from point “A” to point “B” very quickly. This allows us to continue on our coattails from last season where we were looking to counter and to get forward, but in larger numbers. He’s going to allow us that opportunity.”
Axel Sjӧberg | 6-7 | D | Stockholm, Sweden | Rudebecks Gym | Sollentuna United FF
Sjӧberg, listed at 6-foot-7, adds considerable size and strength to MU’s formidable backline … Captured Player of the Year honors in 2010 with Sollentuna United FF (a member of the Swedish second division) after helping the team finish second in the Norra Svealeand section and advance to the Swedish Cup … Served as the club’s captain seven times since 2002 and was a four-time Player of the Year recipient … Played at Everton’s home stadium, Goodison Park, leading Sollentuna to a 2-1 victory over the Toffees’ reserves in 2010 … Trained under Paul Lindholm and assistant coach Anders Limpar, a former winger who played in over 160 matches with Premier League clubs Arsenal and Everton … Also played soccer with highly regarded Djurgårdens IF between 1997-2009, and played center in ice hockey while growing up … Born March 8, 1991 in Stockholm … Son of Lars-Erik Sjӧberg and Anna Kullander Sjӧberg … Interested in majoring in business administration … Attended secondary school at Sigrid Rudebecks Gymnasium.
Coach Bennett on Sjӧberg: “He’s obviously a large soccer player, and with good distribution skills and athleticism, he has a specific skill set to be a valuable central defender. He brings the appropriate amount of power and aggression to the position, but one of the things I was impressed with when I met him was his personality. He’s very goal-oriented and ambitious. His height is an asset on set pieces, and when we’re attacking, we’ll need him to seal off any chances at a breakaway counter attack. Like Sebastian, he’s excited to be here at Marquette.”
Kelmend Islami | 5-5 | F | South Milwaukee, Wis. | South Milwaukee HS | FC Milwaukee/Croatian Eagles
A prolific scorer, Islami tallied a single-season record 43 goals as leader of the South Milwaukee boy’s soccer team, which won back-to-back Woodland Conference titles in 2009 and 2010 and finished undefeated in league play … Named 2010 Woodland Conference Player of the Year following his senior season … Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association second-team all-state selection and two-time all-conference selection ... Grew up playing with the Croatian Eagles, where he guided the club to back-to-back state championships, and later joined FC Milwaukee … Born Oct. 22, 1992 … Son of Muhamed and Seline Islami.
Coach Bennett on Islami: “He’s an exciting player and has strong soccer acumen. His experience growing up playing for an ethnic club like the Croatian Eagles has given him a feel and appreciation for the intensity it takes to score goals. He’s a versatile player, and we’re excited about adding another player to the front five who can help us break through tight BIG EAST defensive units and get production on the score sheet. He runs right at people and scores goals.”
James “C” Nortey | 5-8 | F/MF | Accra, Ghana | The Hotchkiss School
Nortey arrived at The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., from Ghana as part of the Right to Dream Academy, a charity that offers underprivileged children in Africa the opportunity to “reach their true potential” through sport and education … Was a three-time all-state and all-region selection while at Hotchkiss and led the school in goals scored as a freshman, sophomore and senior … Hotchkiss went undefeated in 2007 and 2010 with Nortey serving as team captain during the 2010 campaign under head coach Chris Downs … Recipient of The Theodore Newlin Prize given to the Hotchkiss student who has made the most positive contribution to the school … Led club team to the U-18 state championship and a third-place finish at the U-19 regional … Also participated in track and field and dance in high school … Born Dec. 20, 1991 … Son of Samuel Nortey and Josephine Addo … Will major in athletic training or business.
Coach Bennett on Nortey: “When you see C step on the field, he’s got an array of tools; you can tell he’s had a disciplined soccer background. He uses his creativity when running at defenders and getting forward. He will give us a dynamic from either flank and can break down the integrity of the other team’s defensive structure. He understands the game. Even though he has individualistic talents, he’s not a selfish player, as he’s equally adept to pass the ball.”