May 20 2014 ISN – LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s soccer team is thrilled to
unveil one of the most impressive recruiting classes in recent memory, as Spartans
coach Pat Rohla officially announced the seven players who will join the team next
The group includes strikers Eric Dove (Port Moody, B.C.), Leighton Johnson (Calgary)
and Vito Poletto (Calgary), midfielders Elijah Adekugbe (Calgary), Matthew Roxburgh
(Surrey, B.C.) and Joel Waterman (Aldergrove, B.C.) and defender Austin Kasian
“I think everyone is excited about the players that we’re bringing in,” Rohla said.
“Even our current players, when they heard who we were signing, were really pleased.
I’m delighted with who we have signed, with both their ability and character.
There’s no way we could pass on any of these players and they will all fit in well
in a Spartans uniform.”
Elijah Adekugbe (Calgary)
The 5-foot-8 central midfielder was raised in Calgary, but has English roots as he
was born in London before moving to Canada 10 years ago.
Adekugbe will graduate from Calgary’s Dr. EP Scarlett High School this year and will
join the Spartans in the fall with an already decorated soccer background.
From 2000 to 2004, Adekugbe was part of the academy at Manchester City FC before
moving to Calgary and playing for Calgary Foothills Saints. Following four years
with the Saints, he played with the Foothills Rapids for next three years before
joining Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency in the fall of 2011. Following one year
with the Whitecaps, Adekugbe returned to Calgary, where he played with Foothills
Galaxy and also trained at the Regional Performance Centre.
“Elijah can play a variety of spots in the midfield,” Rohla said. “I think he’ll be
more effective centrally than on the outside, but he can certainly play. He’s a
great get for us and we’re expecting great things from him.”
Since coming to Canada, Adekugbe has represented Alberta on provincial teams each
year from U-13 through U-16.
This summer, Adekugbe will compete with the Calgary Foothills U23 team that will
play a series of exhibition contests in preparation for joining the Premier
Development League (PDL) in 2015.
“I love the soccer setup they have at TWU, which suits me well,” said Adekugbe, who
plans to study international business. “Also, I’m excited to be part of a Christian
atmosphere and in a school that has such an impressive academic reputation.”
Adekugbe is the younger brother of Vancouver Whitecaps FC defender Sam Adekugbe.
Eric Dove (Port Moody, B.C.)
A dangerous striker, the 5-foot-9 Dove, who will graduate from Heritage Woods
Secondary this year, arrives in Langley with an impressive soccer-playing résumé
that already includes experience abroad.
After growing up playing much of his club soccer with Coquitlam Metro-Ford, Dove
spent the 2012-13 year in Europe. After training at the Genova International School
of Soccer, Dove trained with Italy’s Serie B side Ascoli Calcio. While in Italy, he
also earned a trial with Spain’s RCD Espanyol.
“Eric is dynamic and fast,” Rohla said. “He has a great nose for the net and he is
another quality attacking player. We have a lot of weapons going forward this year
and he’s going to push for a position.”
This past fall, Dove returned to B.C. where he helped Coquitlam Metro-Ford to the BC
Soccer Premier League championship and Cup championship. He also played a key role
in Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Sparta’s capturing of the U-18 Canadian national
championship, leading his team in tournament scoring.
“I think Trinity Western is a great fit for me, both academically and athletically,”
said Dove, who plans to study either business or psychology. “I was drawn to TWU by
the reputation of the soccer program and when I met the team and the coaches I
really felt welcomed. As a student-athlete, the small class sizes and academic
support will help me balance my school work with a demanding soccer schedule.”
Leighton Johnson (Calgary)
The 6-foot-2 striker will graduate from Calgary’s Bishop Grandin High School this
year and join his brother, centre-back Taylor Johnson, with the Spartans in the
The younger Johnson has played his club soccer with the Calgary Foothills since 2011
and in both 2011 and 2012 finished second at the provincial championships. Prior to
joining the Foothills, he played with NSDSC (National Sports Development Soccer
Club) and won a national silver medal at the club championship in 2010.
With his high school team, Johnson won the Calgary city championship in 2013.
Johnson also played with Team Alberta for five years from U13, which he played for
twice, through U16.
“Leighton is faster than he looks and he’s really smooth,” Rohla said. “His timing
on runs is exceptional and he can finish. He’s an intelligent athlete who has a lot
of range and I think he’s going to be an outstanding player.”
Johnston, who plans to study education, said: “My brother Taylor goes to TWU and
that’s really why I became interested in going here in the first place. But beyond
getting the chance to play with Taylor, I’m really thrilled to be joining such a
great soccer program. They’re building something really exciting at TWU and I want
to go there and win national championships.”
Austin Kasian (Calgary)
The 5-foot-8 fullback, who will graduate from Bishop Grandin High School this
spring, has plenty of experience at a variety of levels and brings a winning
pedigree to TWU.
With Calgary’s NSD soccer club, Kasian earned a pair of provincial gold medals and a
national silver medal. He has also garnered two bronze medals with Alberta’s
provincial team, which he was a member of from U-13 to U-16. Most recently, he
played with the Calgary Foothills club.
“He’s a player from the Foothills club and they seem to be producing a lot of
quality players right now,” Rohla said. “Austin is a right or left fullback who is
in a similar mold to (former Spartan) Brayden Volkenant. He’s an impressive passer
and I think he’s going to be a very solid and steady, up-and-down player for us.
He’s rugged and durable and extremely committed.”
Kasian, who plans to study either education or human kinetics, said: “I’m attending
TWU because it’s an outstanding university and has an amazing soccer program. I
don’t see how I could have declined this opportunity.”
Vito Poletto (Calgary)
The 5-foot-10 striker, who graduated from Notre Dame High School in 2012, is a
Calgary product who comes to the Spartans with a year abroad already on his resume.
After growing up playing with Calgary Villains FC, Poletto spent the 2012-13
campaign in Germany with FC Memmingen.
Following his year in Germany, Poletto returned to Calgary and this summer will play
for the Calgary Foothills U23 PDL team.
“I think he’s going to cause some serious noise in this league,” Rohla said. “He
will be dynamic player and will be able to bang in goals. He’s a great recruit for
Growing up, Poletto was a mainstay on Alberta’s provincial team, playing in each
year from 2006 through 2010. With Team Alberta, he competed in the national
championship three times, in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
“TWU will provide the ultimate combination of education, high level soccer and
personal growth,” said Poletto, who plans to study either business or marketing.
“It’s a place where everyone is treated like family and it provides an environment
where I can truly see myself growing as a player and as a person.”
Matthew Roxburgh (Surrey, B.C.)
The 5-foot-11 central midfielder comes to TWU with a last name well-known to
Spartans soccer fans. The nephew of TWU women’s soccer coach Graham Roxburgh will
join the Spartans in the fall and, if his bloodline is any indication, will bring an
impressive soccer intellect to the pitch.
Since 2011, Roxburgh, who will graduate from Pacific Academy this year, has played
his club soccer with both the Magnuson Ford Mariners and Fraser Valley FC. Prior to
that, he played with Surrey Guildford United Metro for three years. With Surrey
Guildford, Roxburgh earned both a provincial championship and a fourth place finish
at the national championship in 2010.
“He’s a local product who has come on the radar a little bit later, but he is
rounding into a steady player,” Rohla said. “He has a good soccer mind and he’s
tough. He’s a hard tackler and he’s mobile. He has a great touch and I think he’ll
fit into our squad nicely in a lot of different facets.”
Roxburgh also captained his senior high school team for the past two years and was
named the team’s MVP in both 2012 and 2013.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to play university soccer,” said Roxburgh, who
plans to study business. “So when I got connected with TWU, my decision was pretty
easy. TWU has everything I was looking for in a university. From a great business
program, to being in a faith-based community, to having a top-notch soccer team, TWU
is definitely the right fit for me. To play CIS soccer in my hometown and represent
the Spartans, whom I’ve cheered on for many years, is definitely exciting.”
Joel Waterman (Aldergrove, B.C.)
At 6-foot-1, Waterman, who will graduate this year from Aldergrove Community
Secondary, brings size to the Spartans and will immediately bolster TWU’s midfield.
Waterman has been a mainstay with Surrey United since 2010 and is currently playing
with the club’s U-18 side.
Beyond the club level, Waterman recently represented Team BC at the 2013 Canada
Summer Games, earning a silver medal.
“Joel has gotten stronger this past year and has really come into his own,” Rohla
said. “He can move the field and go box-to-box. He can pass, he’s brave and he’s
smart. He will add incredible depth and versatility and will become a very good
Spartan if he continues his current trend of growth in the game. Jeff Clarke, who is
the technical director at Surrey United, has indicated that he thinks Joel will
blossom in to a very valuable player for us.”
This past fall, Waterman captained his high school team to its first ever “AA”
Fraser Valley Championship, followed by a seventh place finish at the provincial
“After researching many universities, TWU remained my top post-secondary choice, as
it just felt right,” said Waterman, who plans to study human kinetics. “The coaches
really care about their players as athletes and, more importantly, as people.
Trinity Western is a top-ranked university that offers great athletic and academic
programs and to play CIS level soccer in my own community is a bonus. I am very
thankful for this opportunity and look forward to becoming a Spartan.”