Kamloops, BC—The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team will have a ‘Central American/Middle Eastern’ flavor to it when it hits the pitch for the 2017-18 Canada West season.
The WolfPack have signed 21 year old holding midfielder Juan Calles from Doha, Qatar to a USport letter of intent. Calles was born and raised in El Salvador and moved to Qatar two years ago.
Calles (pronounced cal-lay) is 5’9” and actually ‘walked on’ to the club as he attends Thompson Rivers as an international student taking business administration. He is finishing his first year in Canada.
“He has been training with us the last couple of months,” says WolfPack head coach John Antulov. “I have been very impressed with him and what he brings to the table. Technically, he is a very sound player. He reads the game very well. He can play in multiple positions from the midfield to the back line. Once again, brings a very physical game. He is definitely a player who is ready to get into the mix with the players we currently have.”
Antulov adds that Calles’ diversity will be a bonus. “His game suits different positions. We will see where things pan out.”
“I think my most valuable skill is my mind set,” Calles states. “ I would like to think I am a leader. Someone who is committed to the game. I don’t want to lose. I will always go for the ball. If we are losing, I will be there to support my teammates.”
Calles decided to try out for the WolfPack after watching a few matches last year after arriving in Kamloops at the end of August. “When I came here I wasn’t sure I would be able to play because I wanted to concentrate on my academics. As time went by, I thought I would give it a shot. I have always been passionate about soccer.”
He says the fitness level and play of North American soccer is much different than he was used to. “I am not going to lie, at the start it was tough. The guys have a really good pace. Some of them are very strong. I hadn’t played for six months before I started working out with them. It’s taken me a little bit of time to catch up on fitness. The style of play is much more physical than I am used to: it’s more technical back home. I think I will be able to adjust though.”
Calles played for an ‘academy style’ program: FESA in El Salvador.
He is the third recruit signed by the WolfPack for the upcoming campaign, joining: Scott Cramer (5’10” midfield, Williams Lake/Vernon, BC, Vernon Christian School/Thompson Okanagan Football Club (BCPSL)) and Harry Khaira (6’1”,center back, Surrey, BC Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary/Fraser Valley Football Club (BCPSL))
Thompson Rivers is the host team for the 2017 USport Men’s Soccer Nationals which will be held at Hillside Stadium in mid-November.
THROW INS: Calles on going to school in Canada: “At first I felt kind of strange because it is much different than back home but I like it.” Calles and his friends decided to come to Thompson Rivers after a representative from TRU World paid his high school a visit. “The presentation was very impressive,’ he says. “ The school hasn’t let us down. People here are so friendly. They have made me feel very comfortable.”