New soccer coach excited about Brookdale squad

Staff Writer

Dan Janezic wants everyone to know they do not have to travel very far to see good soccer. He believes an exciting brand of soccer is being played in Lincroft by the Brookdale Community College men’s soccer team.

Janezic, who is Brookdale’s new coach, is the program’s No. 1 cheerleader as he looks to continue to build on the success begun under Mike Costa.

The Jersey Blues have enjoyed a national ranking the last few years and in 2011 they went through the regular season undefeated, winning the Garden State Athletic Conference title. The Jersey Blues finished the campaign with the program’s best record, 20-1.

Janezic played on state championship teams at Raritan High School in Hazlet (class of 1992) and for Monmouth University in West Long Branch (class of 1997). At Monmouth, Janezic was named the team’s most valuable player and he was a First Team All-Northeast Conference selection.

In addition to those credentials, he was familiar with Brookdale’s soccer program.

“I always had respect for Brookdale soccer,” he said.

Janezic was an assistant coach at Caldwell College before he was hired by Brookdale in April. As he recruited players for his program, his selling point to prospects was the level of talent at the college and the quality of competition.

“I want to promote (Brookdale soccer),” he said. “Right here is good soccer. This area has so much talent. I want people to have pride in playing for Brookdale.”

Janezic is pleased with his first recruiting class, which includes All-Shore players and transfer students from West Virginia University and James Madison University. “It’s a really solid class,” he said. Practice has just started and Janezic will learn in time just how good his recruits are as they adapt to college soccer, but at this early stage everything looks fine.

“They are working really hard,” he said.

Janezic said his coaching philosophy is “keep it simple.”

“I believe in doing the right thing, keep it simple, master the basics and work as a team,” he explained. “I want to play quality soccer, which is keeping the ball so the defense has to chase. When defenders are chasing the whole game they get tired and that’s when you can attack.”

Janezic has been impressed by the talent level he has seen in Brookdale’s first few practices, although he is a long way from deciding on a starting lineup.

“It’s not the best 11 (who will start), it’s the right 11,” the coach said.

Brookdale will start the 2012 season ranked No. 5 in the country among National Junior College Athletic Association Division III schools.

“It’s great to get early national recognition, but it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish,” Janezic said.

The Jersey Blues return seven players from 2011’s regular season GSAC champions. Two of those players are co-captains — Justin Gregory (Wall), an All-Region XIX player last fall, and Patrick Holliday (Freehold Township). They are being counted on to provide leadership.

Promising newcomers include Middletown South graduate Keith Monaghan, who is the field general at center back, and Drew Lyon (Howell), who is a classic goal-scoring finisher, according to Janezic.

Brookdale will open the soccer season at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 28 against Raritan Valley Community College at home.