Victoria Highlanders FC are pleased to announce that Joshua Walter, Jonathan Walter, Alec-Michael Petrizzi, and Connor Guilherme have moved towards professional soccer opportunities in Germany. The four players join a growing list of Highlanders’ alumni that have moved on to the professional ranks.
The Highlanders program, as well as USL League Two, prides itself as the next step for college and amateur players in their paths towards professional soccer. Showcasing players and assisting their development is a key component to the Highlanders program.
“We are always looking to develop our players so that they can eventually look towards these opportunities professionally,” stated Highlanders head coach Thomas Niendorf. “To give these players a head start and to be identified for these opportunities. We want to provide them with an environment that helps them grow their skill sets and readies them for the next level. The Highlanders program is focused on development and these players join a growing list of former Highlanders that have come through this program before making the transition to professional soccer. These are fantastic opportunities for these four young men, and we are incredibly proud of them.”
Highlanders captain Joshua Walter is pursuing a professional opportunity with a 4th Division team while his younger brother Jonathan will be pursuing a U19 development opportunity in Germany. Joshua Walter played eleven matches for the Victoria side over two seasons patrolling and being a key cog in the midfield. The versatile midfielder earned USL League Two Goal of the Week honours in Week 4 for his brilliant goal off a free kick. He also captured a Sir John Jackson Cup title in the Vancouver Island Soccer League with the Thomas Niendorf coached Westcastle United. Meanwhile, Jonathan Walter played in the Highlanders’ home opener and was a member of the champion Westcastle United squad and, like his brother, was part of Niendorf’s Pacific Elite Soccer Institute.
Defender Connor Guilherme has signed with another 4th Division team in Germany. The centre-back joined the Highlanders from the Vancouver Whitecaps U23 Development team and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. The 23-year-old entered the season coming off a spectacular campaign with the UBC Thunderbirds that saw him capture his second straight Canada West Championship and be named a Second Team All-Canadian. Guilherme played eight matches with the Highlanders, earning USL League Two Team of the Week honours twice while being a key piece in the Victoria side’s backline. He scored his lone goal of the season in a 2-1 win over Seattle Sounders U23 on May 26.
Meanwhile, Petrizzi is in Germany with a another 5th Division team. The Florida native joined the Highlanders this year, but an injury in the preseason prevented him from playing in league competition. The 20-year-old midfielder grew up playing for the Oxbridge Academy where he earned the All-State honours and was the 2014-15 player of the year for his side while also being named to the TopDrawerSoccer Florida All-Star team in the very same year. Petrizzi also represented his state from 2013-2015. The midfielder was also part of Niendorf’s Pacific Elite Soccer Institute.
The Highlanders are proud to have had these four players as a part of the organization as they developed and grew not only as athletes but as young men. We wish them the best of luck in their future and their careers. The Highlanders organization is better for having had them as a member of the squad.