At the Loncar home in Jefferson, the first thing a visitor sees is the family gathered to watch a Football Club (FC) Barcelona match. No wonder the oldest daughter, Katerina Loncar, is a budding soccer star.
Katerina is a Jefferson Township Middle School sixth-grader on the high honor roll. Her mother, Daniela Loncar, told The Jefferson Chronicle a story from summer day camp. “A soccer coach at camp told me my daughter was going to be a soccer player. I was on board!” Katerina started playing at the age of four, and immediately fell in love with the sport. In their backyard is a little soccer field with two nets that stay up all year round.
In 78 games with her club team, SportFriends (coached by Rick Brunetti and Lou Palazzo), Katerina had scored a total of 97 goals and 53 assists at the time of this interview. That equals 1.24 goals and .68 assists per game, which is top of the line in soccer. During her time with SportFriends, the team went on a 17-game winning streak and a 25-game unbeaten streak, winning three championships in four seasons. She also plays on the Eastern Development Program team at Parsippany Academy (coached by Stephanie Zalewski), which went 8-0 and won the Premier North 1 Division Championship.
Recently, Katerina was contacted by Global Premier Soccer (GPS), FC Bayern Munich’s North American affiliate, to try out for their team, which will compete for the Gothia Cup in Sweden. “I was speechless,” Katerina told The Chronicle. She accepted the invitation and traveled to Rock Hill, South Carolina. This was the real deal: athletes from 16 states, three Canadian provinces, and two Puerto Rican cities. There were three FC Bayern coaches and a World Cup winner at the camp, which ran from February 9-11. At age 11, Katerina was the youngest participant, but she was fearless from the second she stepped onto the grass. “I was not intimidated,” she said. “I think it went really well.”
On February 22, Katerina was selected to compete with the GPS FC Bayern National Team for the Gothia Cup in Sweden. The family is excited and looking forward to her future. Katerina is clearly competitive, but she is also humble and unselfish, both on and off the field. Her attitude toward playing the sport is “go and have fun.” And Katerina’s final goal as a Jefferson soccer player? Help bring home a state championship.