Just over a week since their Canada West season ended, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team has signed their first recruit.
Head coach John Antulov and the WolfPack are announcing that local player Denzel Marican of South Kamloops Secondary will join the program in September 2019. Marican plays club soccer for the Thompson Okanagan Football Club.
The 5’9” Marican is a forward.
“Being from Kamloops, I have always been aware of the WolfPack and how the program has grown. I see how the university itself and the athletic program have become entrenched in the community and I wanted to be a part of that. The other factor I considered as I decided where I wanted to go to school and play soccer was the fact John Antulov has coached me for years (through his Vancouver Whitecaps program). I have a lot of respect for him and his passion for the game and have appreciated all that he has done to help me in my development.”
Marican looked at UBCO, UBC and Simon Fraser as options to pursue his academic and athletic career before deciding on staying home at Thompson Rivers. Marican will be taking courses aimed at achieving a Bachelor of Science program at TRU.
Marican spent some time last summer practicing with the Kamloops Wolfpack of the Pacific Coast Soccer League and knows a number of the current players on the TRU roster including Jared Keim who has been his teammate in minor and high school soccer.
His coach at TOFC the past two seasons is David Broadhurst. “ Denzel has a great work ethic and is a willing runner both with and without the ball. He is a confident dribbler and can dominate 1v1 situations in the attack. His athletic qualities will definitely stand him in good stead at the next level. His technical ability and comfort with the ball will also enable him to settle into whatever system or style of play he encounters in U SPORTS.”
His coach growing up in Kamloops Youth Soccer was Domenic Comita, the current Vice-Principal at Sa-Hali Secondary. He coached Marican from U5 to U15. “ I am not surprised about Denzel signing with the WolfPack; however, his path to play at this level wasn’t a traditional one. Although Denzel is a great athlete, his skills didn’t develop early, and they didn’t come easily. Instead, Denzel is an example of how the correct combination of a relentless work rate, stellar attitude and most importantly a passion for the game can lead you to reach your goals. Denzel has never let go of his dream to play at the University level, and he did the extra work necessary to see his goals come to fruition.”
Comita adds, “ Without question, he is a determined and resilient young man. As his soccer coach, I can recall his first tryout for the KYSA rep team didn’t go so well. Although he was close to making the first team, his name was left off the roster. That was a tough decision for me, and he may not have agreed with the decision at the time, but he didn’t complain; instead, this fueled him to get better, and he did. The following year at the KYSA tryouts, he wasn’t the same player. He had listened to the feedback and did whatever he could to improve his game. The improvement in his play was so evident that he went from being left off the roster the previous year to being one of the best players on the first team the next year. From there, he just kept working harder and getting better, and in his next year with KYSA, other teams started to recognize his abilities including the BC Summer Games team and TOFC. Denzel was always committed to being the best player he could be, and it’s his drive which separates him from others. Denzel rises to the occasion when the games get tough. It is this grit that propels him to succeed at every level he plays at and, it is for this reason, I think he will be an impact player for the WolfPack.”
The newest WolfPack is looking forward to helping the soccer program continue its positive growth. “ I believe that TRU soccer has been on the rise ever since they placed third at nationals last year. I also recognize the fact that you have to earn your place on the team and understand it will take some practice and experience to make that step up. With that in mind, I am ready to work.”
Marican is looking forward to being involved in the community initiatives the WolfPack athletic program is involved with. “ It’s great that TRU gets involve in the community through all the events it hosts and is a part of. As a future student and athlete, It’s great to be able to take pride in the positive things the school and the athletic program does to help student athletes grow as people and mature into someone with character and values.”
Coach Antulov says about his first recruit, “ I have worked with Denzel for the last four years with the Whitecaps Academy and scouted him extensively through TOFC and BCSPL. His hard work ethic along with great mindset/attitude and good pace makes him a valuable commodity. He will bring a lot of positive energy and solid play to our group. Since joining TOFC and working with Dave Broadhurst, his game has improved immensely and feel he will be a good fit for Canada West and TRU. Playing this summer with the PSCL team, I got the chance to see him first hand against good quality and he acquitted himself well. With his work ethic and attitude, we feel he will only get better and push our current crop of players and himself to the next level. We look forward to Denzel being a big part of this program for years to come.
The WolfPack plan to make more recruit announcements in the coming weeks.
CORNER KICKS: Marican’s current coach Broadhurst added,” I have enjoyed working with Denzel a great deal. He has worked extremely hard over the past few seasons and he deserves this opportunity with TRU. I wish him all the very best for his soccer future and look forward to seeing his progression as a Canada West player.”
Former coach Comita on his relationship with Marican, “I have had the distinct pleasure to be part of this young man’s life since he first played soccer in 2006. Whether it was in the classroom, the community or on the soccer pitch, he is an exemplary citizen with a contagious attitude. He is a competent young man that puts others before him. He is an excellent ambassador for our community and a great role model for our aspiring young soccer players. There is no question the WolfPack have uncovered a gem.”