Zanatta inks first Canada West recruit

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by Cary Mellon

February 28, 2014, KELOWNA, BC (ISN) – Ryan Jerry can’t get enough of sports, and the Summerland Secondary product will continue a career in soccer after committing to play for the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s soccer team for their inaugural Canada West season this coming fall.

The 5’10, 138lb fullback has a well versed multi-sport background, though soccer has become his first passion and the focus athletically. An enjoyment of all things active including golfing, skiing, and basketball has drawn Jerry towards enrolling in the Human Kinetics program.

“Sports have always been a part of my life and Human Kinetics seemed to be a good option for me,” Jerry said of his scholastic ambitions at the Kelowna campus. “I had been told that UBC Okanagan had a great program and when I heard that Dante [Zanatta, head coach] was interested in me playing, this seemed to be a great place to continue my education.”

Jerry played most recently for the Penticton Pinnacles Football Club, whose U18 team won the provincial championship. He also helped lead his Summerland Rockets high school team to its first provincial playoffs berth in eight years during the 2012 season.

The jump to the next level is an opportune time for Jerry, as the Heat will also be making a jump up to the next level of competition. “Playing university soccer has always been my main goal with the sport,” he said. “It will take some time to adjust to the speed of the game as well as the quality of play. But I will be training hard for the rest of the year to try and prepare myself as best as I can to be ready for the jump.” Specifically referring to the transition to Canada West, he added, “I think it will be a great new challenge and I am excited to see what will come of the change.”

“Ryan is a great example of a late developer in our sport,” said Heat coach Dante Zanatta of Jerry’s soccer development. “[He is] a great athlete but needed time to catch up with his peers on the physical side of the game.” He went on to stress his confidence in Jerry’s development, adding that “Ryan is a hard worker with a determination that will bode well as a defender but has the skill to help in the attack.”

Speaking about what he thinks he brings to his new Heat squad, he has emphasized his overall athleticism. “I believe my strengths as a fullback would definitely be my speed up and down the wings,” he said. “I like to play offensively and try to join the attack, while keeping possession of the ball.”

“Stepping up from club soccer will be a big step,” Zanatta said of Jerry’s transition to University soccer, “but I believe in the right environment and the correct mindset that he will be able to contribute to our program”

You can catch Jerry and the rest of Heat soccer this fall when they embark on their inaugural Canada West campaign. Remember to check back at for the 2014-15 schedules as they become available in mid-June.

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