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NCAA Jul 22, 2021

University of Washington men’s soccer program adds three to roster

The start of the University of Washington men’s soccer 2021 season is just weeks away, and when the Huskies return to campus to begin preparations, their roster will include three additional newcomers that have recently joined the program.

Uli EsquivelJonah Kawamura, and Ilijah Paul join an experienced UW roster, many members of whom led the Huskies to a 12-4 record and the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals during the delayed 2020 season (played in spring of 2021).

“We are excited to add three more talented players to our 2021 recruiting class,” said UW head coach Jamie Clark. “Jonah, Uli and Ilijah are all top students and soccer players. Each has great experience and the right mind set to work hard and make their mark on Husky soccer. We need people and players like this to keep our program among the elite in the country.”

Here’s a look at each of the three newest Huskies:

Esquivel joins the team from Rancho Cordova, Calif., a suburb of Sacramento, where he attended Jesuit High School. Esquivel signed an academy contract with USL side Sacramento Republic FC, where he played in 14 games, starting 11, during the abbreviated 2019-20 season.

When Esquivel arrives on campus, he will reconnect with his former Jesuit High teammates Chris MeyersJack Maguire and Julian Churchill.

“Uli just captained his Sac Republic team to the MLS Next Cup semifinal,” Coach Clark said. “He’s a winner and really is a tough and competitive defender who hates to lose. His range of passing and composure really stand out. Combine that with his first-team USL Championship experience which should ease his transition into the college game.”

Kawamura was the Gatorade State Player of the Year for Hawai’i in 2021. A midfielder, he played for ‘Ioloni School and for the Honolulu Bulls club program.

A 2019 and 2020 All-IHL first-team selection, he was also second-team all-state in 2019. Kawamura helped the Bulls to the 2018 U-18 Surf Cup Championship and to the semifinals in the U-19 competition the following year. He also reached the semifinals of Club Nationals in 2018 and earned a place on the ODP West Region team in 2019.

“Jonah is the top player out of Hawaii this year,” said Coach Clark. “He is a very skillful midfielder who connects the game very well. He joins fellow Huskies with Hawaiian roots –Dylan TevesCharlie Ostrem and Kalani Kossa-Rienzi – who all have been fantastic for our program. We believe Jonah will follow in their footsteps and be a player who will make his mark on the Purple and Gold.”

Paul, a forward, comes to Seattle from Gilbert, Ariz., where attended Campo Verde High. He originally signed with the University of San Francisco out of high school. At the club level, he spent time with Salt Lake Academy, Valparaiso United, Barca Academy and Phoenix Rising. In 2019, he was the youngest player ever to sign with USL side Phoenix Rising FC, while retaining his amateur status.

With Valparaiso, he won the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships and went on to play for the U16/U17 Real Salt Lake Development Academy team, for which he scored 10 goals in 16 appearances.

“Ilijah has the ability to be a real difference maker up front,” said Clark. “He missed his freshman year at USF due to injury, but that year will still have him well prepared to come in and threaten defenses from day one.  He has the strength to be a target, but the pace to get in behind which will really worry opposing back lines. It will be fun to add Ilijah to an already potent attack.”

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