AMLOOPS, BC-Hot off their USPORTS bronze medal victory, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team is adding more European influence.
Head coach John Antulov and the WolfPack are announcing that 6’2” winger Stanley Obinna of the Onewa School in Wolverhampton, England (outside of London).
Obinna is currently with the Ormiston North East Wolverhampton Football Academy (formerly the Moreton Football Academy) which has come to Kamloops to play the past two summers.
“I was in Canada with my school football team and we spent five days in Kamloops,” said Obinna about how he heard about Thompson.” I was really impressed by the place the five days I was there. It is a really quiet city which I like a lot and it has a lot of interesting things I haven’t seen yet that I can’t wait to explore. It is a good place to be because it’s far from the big city and the busy life. It will help me focus on what I want more instead of what is going on around me. The facilities are amazing and the campus at TRU is amazing as well. I believe that coach Antulov will help develop my abilities and skills to where I want to be.”
“I first saw Stanley with Moreton Academy when they came to Kamloops,” says Antulov.”I have been working with Jeff Ashton and Mick Murphy the last couple of years and we had set up some games and training sessions to use this as a platform to recruit players. I watched three or four of their games while they were on tour and was immediately impressed with the level of talent that they had. They will be coming again in July to work with us and we want to continue this relationship for the future. It is great to build these contacts to help continue a stream of top quality players for our program.”
He adds: “The first game I watched I was immediately impressed with Stanley. His outright speed was eye catching – with and without the ball. He was causing defenders all kinds of fits and this included our game with TRU. Although his speed was outstanding his technical ability was very good and his movement was smart. The thing I liked overall was his confidence and ability to put the ball in the net. He did not squander too many chances. He will be an outstanding addition to our squad and can’t wait for him to get here in July. With the players we currently have in our squad that have really good speed, Stanley will compliment that. Our team speed has increased immensely with his addition.”
Obinna will be taking courses aimed at achieving a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Thompson Rivers.
When asked why TRU? “The most appealing thing was for the experience and to see how the culture and system is over here. Playing full time football and going to university at the same time isn’t offered everywhere in the world. So being able to do that overseas will be a great experience and will help me advance myself as a person.”
Obinna’s coach with Ormsiton is Jeff Ashton. “Stanley has good all-around technical ability,” he says. “He is physically strong, has dyamic speed; a good speed of foot and a prolific goal scorer. He has been our top goal scorer the past two years and is a constant threat to the opposition teams. Stanley has drawn a lot of attention from various lower league EIFA clubs.”
Ashton says Obinna’s transition to USPORTS and North American soccer shouldn’t be a problem. “He will need to further develop his heading and defensive transition but if he continues to work hard in practice he should be successful.”
Obinna has international experience. He represented Norway in 2014 against Hungary and attended Porsgrum Talentier training camps.
Obinna is the second committed WolfPack recruit for the 2018-19 season. The other is keeper Jackson Gardner of Chilliwack, BC.
Antulov is excited to get the chance to coach him. “We are really looking forward to Stanley joining our squad. It comes at a great time with Ryan having finished his 5th year. It is hard to replace players like Ryan who was a 3 time all-star and have meant so much to our squad both on and off the field but with the progression of Mitch (Popadynetz, Canada West Player of the Year), Justin (Donaldson), James (Fraser), Anatoli (Leveille) and Koffi (Nyavor) – Stanley will add another weapon to our offense that will be hard to contain.”
The WolfPack had a big International contingent this season: Jan Pirrates Glasmacher (Spain), Josh Banton (England), Harry Coles (England), Thomas Lantmeeters (Belgium), Juan Calles (El Salvador), Yuya Nakano (Japan), Alex Ram (England), and Maxime Fieujean (France).