WolfPack Men’s Soccer Add Another Quality Keeper

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tru soccer

Kamloops, BC—The 2016-17 Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer training camp is expected to be a highly contested affair.  One of the key battles this August will be in the nets.

Head coach John Antulov has three quality keepers vying for the starting position.   Antulov and the WolfPack are pleased to announce that 6’3 Lubomir Magdolan Junior of Sa-Hali Secondary in Kamloops, BC has committed to the program.

He will be taking courses aimed at earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at Thompson Rivers and becomes the fourth high school recruit signed by the WolfPack.

“We are very happy to have Lubo joining our program,” says Antulov. “  We have been working with Lubo off and on for the last 4 years in both my Whitecaps academy and in the off season with TRU.  He was a player that we very much wanted in our program and are now glad he has decided to join our program.”

Magdolen is a two time BC “AA” High School all-star keeper with Sa-hali.  He led them to three Okanagan championships and a pair of silver medals at the provincials (2013, 2015).

His coach at Sa-hali was Mary Bartucci—who has sent a number of players onto the TRU program over the years. “I have a whole different appreciation for Lubo from the others because of the nature of the position he plays. It is never fair when you are a goalie because you never get the attention or coaching 1 on 1 that the others get. By the time I got to coach him, he was already so experienced, there wasn’t much more I could offer him technically. He was just independent and self-directed and he never complained once. If anything, he would step up and help me coach the rest of the team. “She continued: “Lubo is obviously a very talented and experienced goaltender. He is one of the most talented players I have ever coached in my 25+ years of coaching. I don’t know of anyone else who earned Top Goaltender of Provincials two years in a row! I am jealous of John and TRU who get to have him now. With his experience, he should have a smooth transition to CIS play. “

Magdolen is familiar with the WolfPack program.  He has been training off and on with TRU since age 14.” I love the atmosphere on the team and I know and have played with a number of the current players in the past”.

When it comes to strengths, he says. “My height definitely helps.  I have fast reflexes and I can rebound quickly. If I make a stop, I can quickly get up and recover to make the second save.  I like to hang onto the ball but also if needed, I can knock the ball away and re direct it into a place where there isn’t an opportunity for a second shot.  I am also a good communicator and have good vision.

Magdolen feels coming to TRU gives him a shot at being a starter with the graduation of five year veteran Travis Froehlich (Revelstoke, BC).  “I know Claye Harsany  (2nd year, High River, AB) from the Whitecaps Academy.  He is a quality player. I believe Brady (fellow recruit VanRyswyk, a 6’2” keeper from Penticton, BC) is talented too. Both are unbelievable keepers.  It will come down to who is the best in shape and playing well at the time will get the position.  I am hoping I can battle through and get it.”

Antulov adds: “He has a very good work ethic and trains very hard to get better.  This is what we are looking for in our players.  With Claye and Brady, this gives us an excellent stable of young goalkeepers going forward.  I am very excited for the opportunity to watch these guys push themselves to get better.  They all have great work ethics and will work as a team to make our group better.  I think our veteran players will be very happy to have this group for the next 5 years as losing Travis was a big loss, but hopefully these guys can pick up that mantle.”

Magdolen is no stranger to battling for a position in a high pressure situation. He has attended three professional try outs in the last year.

In 2015, he went to Holland where he tried out for Helmond Sport (Second Division).  He made the U-19 Academy team as a 17 year old but was unable to stay with the team due to financial reasons.   This year, he tried out for the L.A. Galaxy 2 squad and went to his parent’s native country of Slovakia to try out for AS Trencin (First Division champs).  He trained with the first team. When they delayed on committing to him, Magdolen returned home to Kamloops and committed to the WolfPack.  He hasn’t given up on his dream of playing pro.

“I hope to play for TRU for five years and go on to try play professionally,” he says. “That’s the dream but I know that I won’t be successful in life if I don’t have a good education.”

He said the 10 day tryout in Slovakia was a bit intimidating. “It was high caliber soccer. They did have one player who was 17.  He was an unbelievable player.  These were professional players and they were very talented. One of them was actually called to play for Bayern Munich (German First Division). It was a great learning experience and the professional atmosphere was amazing.”

Other WolfPack recruits for the coming year: Kailum Nicolson (6’2”, centre back, Kamloops, BC-Valleyview Secondary/KYSA U-18) and  Tomas Goddard (6’0” forward, Kamloops, BC- St Ann’s Academy/Kamloops Youth Soccer U-18),

THROW INS:  Magdolen on how he chose to be a goalie:  “ When I was nine I was selected to play for the Kamloops Excel selects (under long time minor coach Victor Lizzi) to play in a tournament in Hawaii.  They didn’t have a goalie so I wound up playing one game in the nets.  After that, I started training full time. It was the same thing in hockey, I told my dad I wanted to try it out and he told me to go for it.”

Magdolen isn’t playing with an organized team this summer.  “By the time I got back from Slovakia, the Kamloops Heat (Pacific Coast Soccer League Premier Division) was already into their season and they had their goalies.”

Bartucci has nothing but praise for him as an athlete and a person: “What stands out more about Lubo as an athlete to me is his character and the way he is with his teammates. For someone with his track record, you could expect there to be a lot of confidence and possibly some ego, but he is one of the most humble and selfless players I have ever coached. In season, or out, his focus is always on “the team” and treating each other with care and respect. He was one of our captains this year, voted by his teammates. He has been very nurturing and an unreal role model to the newer and younger players on our team.

He has also given back helping coach soccer here at Sa-Hali and in the community. “She adds: “I specifically remember one day when I was late getting out to the field for practice. As captain, Lubo got the practice started for me. When I came out, everything was running smoothly and with purpose, but Lubo immediately came over to me with a look of concern on his face. He came to me because he was upset that one of our younger players was suffering with some social issues and he wanted to know if how he handled it while I was gone was the right way – and if there is something else he could do for him. Most players would’ve just handed that problem off to me, “the adult”, but he was determined to help this young guy through it, and proceeded to work with him throughout the rest of practice and the next week.

I was so proud of his genuine care and concern and willingness to put someone else’s needs before his own. Because Lubo was my Teacher’s Assistant this year, we had many opportunities to really get know each other better, and talk at length about soccer and philosophy. We both strongly believe that heart, trust and chemistry on a team play a vital role in its success. I would gladly hand over the reins of the Sa-Hali program to Lubo one day if he wanted. I look forward to watching him and my other Sa-Hali alumni in the fall. “

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