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Brennan Creek caps special career at D4 Kalamazoo Hackett with Mr. Soccer award

By: Dan Stickradt, November 14, 2018, 11:45 am

KALAMAZOO — Halfway through his freshman campaign, Brennan Creek began to think things could be special for Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep’s boys soccer team.

He was correct in his projection. The Irish went on to be the Division 4 state runner-up in 2015.

What Creek didn’t know was just how special of a career he would have for Division 4 Hackett Catholic Prep, which culminated with his recent selection as Michigan’s Mr. Soccer.

The honor, given annually to the state’s top high school soccer player by the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association, dates back to 1974 and lists dozens of future college and professional stars. But Creek, a senior midfielder/forward, becomes the first from a Class D/Division 4 school to take the honor since Allen Park Inter-City Baptist’s Lyle Wensley some 33 years ago in 1985.

“I thought about it this year that I could win it, or at least be in the discussion,” said Creek, a 5-foot-9, 150-pound ball-wizard who resides in Vicksburg. “It’s an amazing honor, especially considering those who have won it before me.”

Creek is the first D-4 player to make the 11-member All-State Dream Team since 2014 (Birmingham Roeper’s Max Whipple did so that season) and the highest ranking D-4 player since 2010, when Auburn Hills Oakland Christian and current U.S. Soccer National Team member Caleb Stanko finished third in the Mr. Soccer voting.

Creek, a gifted, crafty playmaker and goal scorer, had more on his personal resume than perhaps any other player in the state, which led to his selection. He was not only a four-year starter, he was named All-State Second Team as a sophomore and All-State First Team as both a junior and senior.

Additionally, Creek led the Irish to four straight Division 4 Final Four appearances — a rarity on the prep scene and the first Mr. Soccer winner to play in four state semifinals games since Birmingham Detroit Country Day’s Brandon Maggio from 1991-94 — to go along with four straight district and regional titles, and two state runner-up finishes (2015 and 2017).

“He had an amazing career for us,” said Hackett coach Ian Troutman. “He did everything we asked of him for four years. He can both score and (set up teammates) and he scored a lot of goals in big games during his career. I know Brennan and the rest of the seniors would have loved to win a state championship. But when you look at what they did the past four years, it’s truly remarkable of getting (at least) to the state semifinals each year.

“Brennan is often one of the smallest players on the field. But it doesn’t take long to see how talented he is,” added Troutman. “He’s a special player.”

Overall, Creek collected 105 goals and 95 assists in his career, including 43 goals and 30 assists this season. Creek ranks in the top five in school history in several scoring categories — and also finishes in the Top 40 in the MHSAA record books for goals, assists and points in a career.

He is the fourth straight Mr. Soccer winner to commit to Western Michigan University, following Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central’s  Anthony Bowie (2015), Traverse City West’s Dalton Michael (2016) and Rochester Stoney Creek’s Michael Melaragni (2017) — and all three of those players gained minutes for the MAC runners-up this fall.

His father, John Creek, was a kicker for the WMU football team from 1985-88.

“(Western Michigan coach Chad Wiseman) told me earlier this year that one of his recruits must win the award, so I did it,” laughed Creek, who mentioned that Wiseman also coached him on the club circuit with the Kalamazoo Kingdom. Creek helped the Kingdom to the 2017 MRL State Cup and appearance in the national tournament as well.

Creek, who had invites to forgo high school ball and play in the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy with the Columbus Crew and Michigan Wolves over the past two years, also plays point guard for the Irish basketball team. He still gained offers from numerous Division I and Division II colleges but narrowed it down to Western Michigan and Michigan before choosing the Broncos earlier this summer.

“I really wanted to play with my friends. (Fellow All-State First Team and WMU recruit) Max Keenan and I grew up with each other in the Kalamazoo area and he lives just a few doors down from me,” noted Creek. “We had dreams of winning a state title. That’s the one thing I wished we would have (accomplished) the past couple of years. But I still loved it all, playing for my school and with my friends. We had a great four years.”

 

ALL-TIME MR. SOCCER WINNERS

Below is a list of the Michigan Mr. Soccer winners, as presented by the Michigan High School Coaches Association each year to the top-ranked high school soccer player. The award debuted back in 1974.

2018: Brennan Creek, Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep

2017: Michael Melaragni, Rochester Stoney Creek

2016: Dalton Michael, Traverse City West

2015: Anthony Bowie, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central

2014: DeJuan Jones, East Lansing

2013: Alec Lasinski, Ann Arbor Skyline

2012: Dewey Lewis, Rockford

2011: Zach Carroll, Grand Blanc

2010: Dzenan Catic, East Kentwood

2009: Soony Saad, Dearborn

2008: Kevin Cope, Plymouth Salem

2007: Casey Townsend, Traverse City West

2006: Casey Townsend, Traverse City West

2005: Eric Alexander, Portage Central

2004: Jake Stacy, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central

2003: Billy Weaver, Lake Orion

2002: Simon Omekanda, Rochester Adams

2001: Ryan Alexander, Detroit U-D Jesuit

2000: JD Johnston, Portage Northern

1999: Ricky Strong, Rochester Adams

1998: Nick DeGraw, Clinton Twp. Chippewa Valley

1997: Ryan Mack, Birmingham Seaholm

1996: Corey Woolfolk, Ann Arbor Pioneer

1995: Anders Kelto, Traverse City Central

1994: Brandon Maggio, Birmingham Detroit Country Day

1993: Adam Hunter, Birmingham Detroit Country Day

1992: Tom Baker, Plymouth Canton

1991: Travis Roy, Livonia Stevenson

1990: Brian Maisonneuve, Warren DeLaSalle

1989: Joel Russell, Birmingham Detroit Country Day

1988: Lamar Peters, Birmingham Brother Rice

1987: Alexi Lalas, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood

1986: Lars Richters, Livonia Stevenson

1985: Lyle Wensley, Allen Park Inter-City Baptist

1984: Mark Noffert, Troy Athens

1983: Kantu Lulaj, Hamtramck

1982: Gary Mexicotte, Livonia Stevenson

1981: Marty Hagen, Troy Athens

1980: Nikki Gogri, Bloomfield Hills Lahser

1979: Tag Graham, Bloomfield Hills Laser

1978: Bill Holmes, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood

1977: Dick Huff, Birmingham Groves

1976: Tony Hermiz, Ferndale

1975: Doug Manning, Birmingham Seaholm

1974: George Poppa Jr., Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood