Kamloops, BC—It has become almost an annual tradition for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer program. That is to sign a recruit from Vernon, BC and the Thompson Okanagan Football Club.
The trend continues as ‘Pack head coach John Antulov has announced that 5’10” midfielder Scott Cramer of Vernon Christian School has agreed to join the program effective September 2017.
Cramer currently plays for the Thompson Okanagan Football Club U-18 squad. He will be taking courses aimed at achieving a Bachelor of Arts degree.
“John showed interest pretty early on,” Cramer said. “ Coming here (to Kamloops) with my team and playing exhibition matches the last couple of years, seeing the facilities and the program he has going on here made it an easy choice.” Cramer was also considering the University of the Fraser Valley and UBCO before committing to TRU. His long term plan is either to enter TRU’s Faculty of Education or Law.
“I have been watching Scott the last couple of years and have been impressed with his play and development,” says Antulov. “He is a steady player. He plays the game simple. He sees the game very well and has a good physical element to his game. He is a player that, in our environment, will continue to develop and be a solid player for us.”
“My passing and winning the ball back are my main strengths,” says Cramer who played hockey as well growing up but decided to focus on soccer after suffering an injury.
“He normally plays in that holding midfielder position and that is an area where we will need to improve upon in the future with the graduation of our current starters,” added Antulov. “He definitely fills a need and I see a good opportunity for him”.
Antulov states that Cramer will be brought along slowly. “Obviously with some our returning players we have a good solid core. I definitely think he is a player who will fight for playing time and put pressure on the veterans. At the end of the day, it is up to him on how he comes into camp fit and in shape and be ready to challenge.”
Cramer grew up in Williams Lake, BC. His family spent 11 years there before moving to Vernon when he got the chance to play for TOFC. “I got an opportunity to play there. My family thought it was time for a change and we thought we would try the Okanagan.”
Cramer had a direct tie to Thompson Rivers and the soccer program before committing here. His longtime coach at TOFC was the late Neil McPhie, the father of current WolfPack assistant captain Finlay. As well, star forward Ryan Glanville (4th year, forward, Williams Lake, BC. Canada West first team all-star and USport Academic All Canadian) is married to the sister of Cramer’s girlfriend. He also played alongside alum and Ryan’s brother Sean while living in Williams Lake. He says those ties to TRU and the WolfPack will make the adjustment from high school to university that much easier.
“Some of the other players on the team have played HPL and even practicing with them at the ID sessions has made it so much easier,” he says. “The game is obviously faster at the USport level and the guys are bigger and stronger. I know I will have to learn how deal with that along with being a full time student/athlete. It will be interesting.”
David Broadhurst has been Cramer’s coach at TOFC for the past four years. “I was impressed with Scott from day one,” he says. “He is a hard worker, a good listener, always looking to improve and he works hard on and off the field. Scott has very solid technical skills, and he reads the game well”.
He goes onto say: “Scott is combative when he needs to be but also composed in possession. I have enjoyed working with him a great deal and wish him all the best in this next chapter of his footballing career. I look forward to seeing how he performs with the WolfPack.”
Cramer is looking forward to being involved with the ‘Pack’s numerous community efforts. “I think it is an important thing to give back. I have done some charity work through school and on my own club team. It is good to get out and lead by example.”
With the WolfPack set to host the 2017 USport Soccer Nationals, Cramer says having the chance to participate in that is just an added bonus to joining Thompson Rivers.
THROW INS: Cramer says the location for TRU is perfect for him. “I wanted to live close to home but not too close,” he laughs. “It is a happy medium.”
Antulov adds that Cramer reminds him of another former WolfPack midfielder: Austin Schneebeli (Salmon Arm, BC) in terms of stature and style of play. Schneebeli completed his university eligibility this past year with the University of Victoria. “Scott, like Austin can definitely handle the physical element. He doesn’t look out of place right now. If he can develop into a player like Austin was, we will be in a good position.”
The WolfPack have one other committed athlete announced so far: Harry Khaira (6’1”, center back, Surrey, BC Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary/Fraser Valley Football Club (BCPSL)).
Thompson Rivers kicks off its 2017 training camp in early August.