Kamloops, BC—The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team is developing quite the relationship with the South Okanagan Pinnacles F.C. youth program.
For the second year in a row, the WolfPack have recruited a prospect out of the Penticton program. Head coach John Antulov and the men’s soccer program have welcomed 5’10” centre midfielder Jordell Afonso into the fold.
The soon-to-be graduate of Penticton Secondary School will join the program officially in early August coinciding with the start of the team’s 2017 Canada West training camp. He is the second Penticton Minor Soccer grad to join TRU in as many years following in the footsteps of keeper Brady vanRyswick in 2016-17.
Afonso will be taking courses aimed at achieving a Bachelor of Science degree at Thompson Rivers and chose the school over UBCO as well as many schools on the Lower Mainland. “Kamloops is an exciting place for a young adult like myself. Hillside is a very nice facility and I am very excited to play for the WolfPack. TRU has a continuously improving program with a bright future. I feel comfortable at the school and around campus.”
“Jordell is a player that can play many different positions,” stated Antulov. “Either attacking, holding or wide midfield along with fullback. This versatility gives him a great opportunity to push our older players and battle for playing time. Jordell is a solid midfielder and can play a physical game, is technically sound and has good vision. In addition, he can play a good pass to lead the attack. He is a left footed player, which we definitely need and is also strong in the air. We feel he will develop into a very solid USport player for our team and look forward to having him the next five years.”
Afonso believes his main strength is his vision for the game and being able to think two or three steps ahead of his opponents.
He helped lead Penticton to the Thompson Okanagan Soccer League title in 2015 and 2016 under the direction of head coach Ezra Cramers. “Jordell has been training in our Excelsior Academy since the age of 12. I have had the pleasure of coaching him throughout that period on all areas of the game. Jordell is one of our smartest players. His football IQ is very high for a player his age. Our professional affiliate Excelsior Rotterdam from the Eredivise in Holland brought over their youth head coach Marco van Lochem recently. Marco felt Jordell was our top player in the club because of his smarts and ability to read the game.”
Cramers adds: “Jordell needs to continue to work on the physical part of his game but every month he gets bigger, faster and stronger. He needs experience at this level which he will receive this spring and will be a starter for our Pinnacles squad. He is not only good on the field but off of it as well. Jordell is very coachable and easy to get along with. I feel TRU’s style of play and the way John (Antulov) coaches will be a great fit for Jordell.”
Afonso is excited about learning under coach Antulov. “This is a great opportunity for myself. I will learn a lot from him this upcoming season especially as I learn how to transition to the USport style of play.”
He joins fellow recruits: Scott Cramer (5’10” midfield, Williams Lake/Vernon, BC, Vernon Christian School/Thompson Okanagan Football Club (BCPSL)), Harry Khaira (6’1”,center back, Surrey, BC Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary/Fraser Valley Football Club (BCPSL)), Juan Calles (5’9”, midfield/defender, Dola, Qatar, Colegio Maya), and Joshua Penny (6’1”, striker/midfielder, Surrey, BC-Surrey Christian School/Coquitlam Metro Ford (BCPSL).
Besides vanryswyk, Afonso played minor soccer with current Canada West players: Bret Depner and Ryan Jerry both of UBCO, Xavier Araujo and Issac Koch of UVIC and Trinity Western’s David Boehmer.
The WolfPack will host the 2017 USport Soccer Nationals at Hillside Stadium November 9-12th.