The Valparaiso University men’s soccer team has added two more players with local ties to its 2019 recruiting class.
Shortly after announcing the addition of four locals, head coach Mike Avery has continued to reveal the recruiting class by welcoming two more nearby standouts. Josue Fernandez (South Holland, Ill. / Thornwood) and Andy Lomeli (Dyer, Ind. / Lake Central) have signed to join Valpo’s program this fall.
“We’ve added two additional recruits with local ties, and we are pleased to continue to pull great talent from within the Region to help strengthen our program,” Avery said. “The fact that they both have ties to the area – and to the four players we’ve already announced as friends, and in some cases, teammates – is nice and makes for a great story, but make no mistake, what really excites me is that individually each of these players are great additions on the basis of their soccer, their academic preparation and the character traits they exhibit. Andy and Josue are both great additions to our eclectic soccer tribe, and we look forward to watching them help take Valparaiso to another level.”
Avery first saw Fernandez and Lomeli play several years ago when they were teammates with the Chicago Fire U.S. Development Academy. Fernandez is a midfielder/forward and comes from the Indiana Elite FC program in Crown Point while living just across the border in Illinois, while Lomeli lives in Northwest Indiana but plays just across the Illinois border with the Chicago Fire Academy team. Both have spent time in residency with the Portland Timbers Academy.
In addition to owning U.S. Soccer Development Academy experience with the Chicago Fire and Portland Timbers, Fernandez will finish his career at Thornwood High School as a Wall of Fame inductee after being named to the all-state teams by both the IHSA and the Chicago Tribune while competing for the Thornton co-op in Illinois 3A competition. He has also played alongside Valpo recruits Jack Eaton and Danny Salazar for Indiana Elite FC.
“Josue is a talented attacking player who can play as a high striker, on the wing or as an attacking midfield player,” Avery said. “Josue is a technical player that plays with a lot of wisdom for a young man, likely due to the vast array of high level soccer experiences he has had. He makes great runs off the balls, moves intelligently in possession with and without the ball, and he can score.”
Also a midfielder/forward, Lomeli has received quality training and competed in high-level games for U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs with the Chicago Fire, Portland Timbers and FC Westchester in New York. He will graduate from Lake Central High School alongside fellow Valpo incoming freshman Cole Rainwater.
“Like Cole, Andy traded high school soccer to pursue the path offered by the USSDA,” Avery said. “These are personal decisions for top youth players right now, and in Andy’s case it’s been a great decision as he has developed into a very good player. Andy plays with a calmness and a confidence on the ball that I really like. He can play as a 10 and creatively influence an attack, but he can also play wide. He understands college soccer well as his older brother was a very good goalkeeper at Indiana University. There was a time way back when they were young when Andy and Josue were out on the wings on the same team, and it is not far-fetched to see that developing someday here in Valpo.”