Kamloops, BC—The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team has decided to stay local as they announce their first recruit for the 2016-17 Canada West season.
Head coach John Antulov and the WolfPack are pleased to announce that 6’2 Centre back Kailum Nicolson of Valleyview Secondary in Kamloops, BC has agreed to join the squad effective August 1st.
Kailum is currently playing rep soccer with the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association’s U-18 Blaze.
“I have been watching Kailum extensively for the past couple of years,” says Antulov. “He was with me in my Whitecaps program. Tim Hutton (WolfPack assistant coach) has been coaching him for the past four He let me know that Kailum was a player I should be keeping my eye on.”
“It is a big plus staying at home,” stated Nicolson, who just finished playing basketball as part of Valleyview’s team which went to the BC “AAA” Championships in Langley in March. “I have worked with John and Tim before. I like the way they coach.”
Nicolson says Hutton has done a great job with himself and his teammates focusing in fundamentals. “ He kept us on track and motivated us to improve our games. I can’t thank him enough.”
The Blaze came third at the Provincial championships in 2014-15.
“Kailum is a very dynamic player who has the potential to be an impact player both offensively and defensively in every match,’ stated Hutton. “He reads the game very well and has developed into a stronger tactical player. He possess the speed, size and strength required to be a quality CIS player. With his ability to play at a high level, combined with his excellent work ethic and competitiveness, I feel Kailum will adapt well to the CIS level.”
Nicolson was a captain with Hutton’s squad last year. “He is very coachable and I look forward to him join our group at TRU this fall.”
“I would say my defense and ability to push the opposition off the ball are my main strengths,” Nicolson said. “ This will be a big step up from high school and youth soccer. It is a different game. It is faster paced and they move the ball around way more. I am sure I can adjust to it.”
At Valleyview, Nicolson was the under the direction of WolfPack Alumna Chad McIntosh (UCC 1993-1997). “Kailum makes good decisions and leads by example, “McIntosh says. “ Over the years, his consistent play throughout the game sets him apart from others. Kailum does the simple things well, making his teammates better, with hard work. Kailum is strong, quick and consistent, which will allow him to succeed at the CIS level. “
He adds; “With Valleyview, he was quiet leader. As mentioned above, Kailum was consistent from game to game, which allowed his teammates to rely on him for any situation. He always stepped up and played better in big games.”
As far as where Nicolson will fit into the WolfPack’s plans, Antulov says “I think Kailum is one of those kids who is athletically gifted. He is a player who can not only play centre back but I think he can play on the outside as well as well as holding midfielder. He has a lot of diversification in his game. We can look at him in other areas aside from centre back. He has a good opportunity coming in this year to push some of the guys who are already in the program to get some playing time.”
“Goalkeeping and back line were my key areas of recruiting,” said Antulov. “We have a lot of quality in the midfield and obviously up front. Back line and goal keeping are areas I needed to recruit. There are opportunities for players in those positions to battle for playing time.
Nicolson is the first of a number of recruit signings that the TRU men’s soccer program will be announcing in the coming weeks:
THROW INS: Nicolson on why he chose soccer over basketball: “I had fun with basketball but I am definitely more into soccer. I excel at soccer while in basketball I simply compete.” One of his teammates on the Vikings basketball team was Ryan Miller, who committed to TRU’s program in December.
He is honest when asked if he is going to feel some ‘added pressure’ being a homegrown recruit. “Being from Kamloops born and raised, I know the expectations, the media attention and the commitment to community work that this program has. I will always be trying my best out there to represent the city and the university. “