Kamloops, BC—The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team will have a big international component when they step on the field later this month to open their 2017-18 Canada West season.
The WolfPack and head coach John Antulov—who are the hosts of the 2017 USport Nationals –have added four international players to their roster.
Harry Coles, Josh Banton and Alex Ram are from England. Jan Pirretas Glasmacher is from Spain. They bring the number of international players to seven on the WolfPack joining sophomores Maxime Fieujean (Servas, France) Yuya Nakano (Aichi, Japan), and fellow rookie Juan Calles (Dola, Qatar).
Of the four newest WolfPack players, only Coles has been to Kamloops before. The 6’2” midfielder from Shewsbury, England came to the Interior and British Columbia in July as part of the Moreton Academy which played a series of exhibition matches including one against TRU.
“Theres a coach in England (Mick Murphy) who has been a big influence on me, “ he says. “He and John are friends and he recommended me. Playing against my new teammates gave me a chance to adjust to what Canadian University soccer is all about.”
“ I would like to think my passing is my main strength,” Coles states. “ I play holding midfield and like to think I am a good leader on the pitch and have a football brain. I believe I will be able to fit in with the veterans quite easily. They were very welcoming. “
Coles will be taking Sport Event Management while attending Thompson Rivers.
“I’m tall and athletic,” says the 6’5” Ram about what his strengths are. His appearance brings the total number of keepers in training camp to four (joining veteran Allan Connor (Salmon Arm, BC) and sophomores Lubomir Madgolen (Kamloops, BC) and Brady Van Ryswyk (Penticton, BC).
“I am always up for a challenge and knowing that the starting job is up for grabs is a great opportunity for me,” adds Ram. He calls Leicester, England home and played with two clubs including Leicehershire County F.A. last season. Ram will be taking courses aimed at achieving a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree.
Banton was born in London but moved to Essex. He admits he was a little worried about coming so far to go to school and play soccer. “But after speaking with John and checking out what the university and the program has to offer, I got excited.”
The six foot tall Banton plays multiple positions on the back line .He is hoping to earn a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology at TRU. “John saw my video and immediately took to me,” he says. “His diligence in following up was a big factor in me deciding to come here.”
“I think it will be a big adjustment both on and off the pitch,” Banton states. “As long as I do my best that is all I can do.
Glasmacher has lived in North America before. He was enrolled at Virginia Tech (NCAA Div I) last season “I did my research and found TRU. I looked around and thought Thompson Rivers was the best fit for me.”
He is primarily a back. “I am quick but I think my main strength is my passing. My initial impressions of Canadian University soccer is that it is very professional. Soccer isn’t as big here as in Europe but I can see the popularity of it is growing.”
He will be taking courses aimed at achieving a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. “I would like to start my own company someday.”
All the players are looking forward to being involved in TRU’s community events and to vye for a national championship. “That is one of the big draws for sure,” Banton explains. “It is like a dream come true. To play for the national championship in your first year is a privilege.”
“The National Championship is definitely the end goal,” added Coles. “John has put a lot of faith in all of us and hopefully we can pay it back by winning the title.”
All four of the players intend to stay at TRU for their entire academic careers.
They join fellow recruits: Scott Cramer (5’10” midfield, Williams Lake/Vernon, BC, Vernon Christian School/Thompson Okanagan Football Club (BCPSL)), , Juan Calles (5’9”, midfield/defender, Dola, Qatar, Colegio Maya), Joshua Penny (6’1”, striker/midfielder, Surrey, BC-Surrey Christian School/Coquitlam Metro Ford (BCPSL)), Jordell Afonso (5’10”, midfielder, Penticton, BC-Penticton High School/Penticton Pinnacles (TOSL),Anatoli Leveille (5’10”, midfield, Winnipeg, MB-Glengawn Collegiate/REX-Whitecaps Academy), Justin Hansen (6’2”, midfield/back, Williams Lake, BC- Lake City Secondary/VV OJC Rasmalen (Holland)), and James Fraser (6’3”, striker, Penticton, BC-Penticton Secondary/Simon Fraser University (NCAA Div II)/Penticton Pinnacles (PCSL).)
All are in training camp with the WolfPack right now. TRU opens its 2017-18 Canada West regular season on August 25th in Prince George, BC against the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves. Their home opener is Saturday, September 2nd at Hillside Stadium when the University of Victoria Vikes come to town.
The USport Men’s Soccer Nationals will be played at Hillside November 9-12th.
THROW INS: Here is Antulov’s assessment of his four newest recruits:
Harry Coles – Harry will be a calming influence as a holding midfielder. He plays a very simple game and is very calm on the ball. He plays with solid control and leads the attack with a solid, pinpoint pass. He is also very solid defensively and is a good tackler and is very versatile being able to play CB or in a FB position. Harry was brought to my attention from Mick Murphy from Moreton School Academy in the UK who we have played the last couple of years and feel Harry will be solid addition to our program.
Joshua Banton – Josh is another excellent defender that is a fantastic athlete. He also has a solid pedigree playing at a very high level in the UK with Southend United a few years ago and will add a very good physical element to our back line. I feel he will be able to really help our team with neutralizing many of the quick wingers in Canada west. He is also very versatile and can play all positions on the backline and in midfield.
Jan Glasmacher – Jan comes with a solid pedigree as a transfer from Virginia Tech. As a youth player he played with Blackburn U18’s and before going to Tech he was at Bayer Leverkusen U19’s of the German Bundesliga. He is a solid defender that is very versatile and can play wide, central or in midfield. He has great experience at a very high level and will help our program and our younger players with his experience in big games. We are very happy that he chose TRU to meet his school and soccer goals.
Alex Ram – Alex is a solid GK that will give our team a calming influence at the back. He gives us a big presence at the back but is also very good with his feet and is able to start the attack with good service. He is not afraid to come out and challenge and with his height will be able to deal with a lot of the crosses which will come in to play in Canada West. With Alan Connor coming back for his 5th year, Brady Vanryswyk and Lubo Magdolen coming back from a season ending injury, we will have a great competition in the GK positions which will only help our program.