By Cary Mellon
Salt Spring Island native, Hamish Walde, signs with UBC Okanagan Heat men’s soccer team for the upcoming season. The 6’0, 175 lbs Walde will join the Heat as a strong and dominating centre defender.
“As a program we are very happy that Hamish has joined UBCO as he had other options,” says men’s soccer head coach Dante Zanatta. “Hamish is is a very versatile player that can play any where on the defending line and also as a holding midfielder, he has great range in his passing ability and a great desire not to be out worked when on the pitch,” explains Zanatta and then adding that “his ability to organize and communicate with his team mates will make him a great asset to our team.”
“As a former Provincial team member, a part of the National training center, and the Vancouver Whitecaps residency programs he will bring a wealth of experience to us,” adds the coach of UBC Okanagan, who will be bringing Walde on the roster for his team’s second year in Canada West, “and [the commitment of Walde] goes to show the type of players that are now looking at our program here at UBCO.”
Walde currently plays for the Victoria Highlanders in the PCSL Men’s Reserve League Division 2, and has led the team as captain for the past two years. Coach Zanatta is familiar with the Highlanders program and describing the club as a “very good program” and that they have “prepared him well for this next step.” On the field Walde says he “shoulders much of the responsibility of his team” and this demonstrates his ability to play a crucial leadership role on the field.
As a captain for his Victoria club he also proves to be extremely effective in both attacking and defensive roles. Unusual for his position as centre defender, Walde was the team leading goal scorer and placed second overall in the PCSL Men’s Reserve League. Walde’s composure, confidence, and organizational skills allows him to dominate the backline and push forward to produce results in front of the net.
While competing at the senior level for three consecutive years at Gulf Islands Secondary School, Walde and team qualified for provincials every year, and produced some of the best finishes in the history of Gulf Island. Prior to that, Walde played for the U15 Whitecaps Residency team in Burnaby.
Walde has played alongside coach Zanatta’s son, Dario Zanatta, and was previously coached by Zanatta during his time with the National Training Center.
Confident in his performance against high-level players with the Whitecaps and Highlanders, Walde feels well prepared for competition at the university level. “I have played against some of the best men’s strikers in BC,” states Hamish. “I have [also] played against many of the MLS reserve team players, as well as Rangers from the Scottish Premier League”.
Walde is entering the Engineering program at UBC Okanagan and intends to specialize in a field that sparks his interest after studying at university for a year or two.
Walde chose UBC Okanagan based on the stellar reputation and believes his education will “make [him] a strong candidate when considered for employment after school”.
“Coach Zanatta is bringing in many talented players this year, and I am hoping the team will turn into the team to beat over the next couple years,” states Walde.
Gulf Islands’ soon-to-be graduate has played alongside Kieran Large, another Heat recruit joining the team for the upcoming season, since U12 competition. Walde is the second defender scouted by coach Zanatta, joining Daimon Gill, and joins one recruited keeper, Carson Murray, as new additions to the Heat’s roster. Catch the new members of the Heat men’s soccer team on the pitch next fall as they look for another strong showing in the CIS Canada West Conference.