TRU WolfPack men’s soccer coach John Antulov wanted to have a spirited, competitive training camp with all positions up for grabs.
He has got that thanks in part to the calibre of recruits that he has brought in. Two of them have already earned spots on the roster.
Bikramjit (Vicky) Parhar of Surrey and Yuya (pronounced You-Ya) Nakano of Aichi, Japan have agreed to CIS letters of commitment.
Both players spent last season playing in the Vancouver Metro Soccer League. Parhar played for the Langley FC Hurricanes while Nakano was with Rino’s Fury before coming up to Kamloops this summer to play for the Heat of the Pacific Coast Soccer League’s Heat. Parhar is a 5’7” defender while Nakano is 5’2” and plays midfield.
“I chose to come to TRU after hearing about how good it is for international students,” Nakano said. He was taking English as a second language courses in Vancouver and is enroled in the masters of business program. “Kamloops is very quiet at night not like my home town in Japan. I am looking forward to living and going to school here.”
“I was a little lost on where to go after completing my bachelor of science degree (majoring in Biology) at Simon Fraser University,” stated Parhar who started his post-secondary education at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey where he played two years with the Eagles in PACWEST. “TRU has a great program — respiratory therapy —and it’s the only one of its kind in B.C. It’s a perfect match. I can take a program that is very interesting and at the same time, play high caliber soccer. This is an amazing opportunity for me and it worked out really well.”
Parhar is versatile. He can not only play outside right back but also be utilized as a holding midfielder. “I am clearly good at checking and getting people off the ball. I have been playing soccer since age eight when my father introduced me to the game. I have loved it ever since.”
He feels with a few holes on the WolfPack’s back line due to graduation, he has a chance to challenge for playing time. “I am a very competitive guy so my mindset off the bat is that I am going to go out and try and earn a starting spot. If it isn’t open, I will push to make it so. I have been following the team through the website. I have learned a lot of great things including the fact we are hosting CIS Nationals next year. It couldn’t have lined up at a better time as far as the length of my academic program runs. It’s exciting and I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Nakano’s experience with the Heat gave him the chance to play alongside some of his ‘now TRU’ teammates. He said it was difficult at first. Not because of the level of play of the Pacific Coast League but more because of language. He feels that helped him prepare for the Canada West season.
He was a striker in Japan but has moved into the midfield with TRU. “It’s been a transition but I enjoy it. I think my strengths as a player are speed and my shot.”
Both players are looking forward to playing in an environment where the matches are well attended and the WolfPack program is prominent in the community.
“It (playing in Kamloops for TRU) is really like an American setting,” Parhar said. “The fact the media and the community follow and support the team so much is unique. I’m looking forward to helping in our community events. I think it’ll enrich my entire student/athlete experience.”
Coach Antulov had this to say about both players beginning with Parhar: “His coach in Langley, Steve Millar is a good friend of mine (we played together at SFU). He gave me a glowing recommendation. He fits the bill of what we are looking for—an outside back who is very physical but also looks to play. He has made an immediate impact in his tackles and his play out of the back. I feel he will be an excellent addition to our backline and our team. Backline was an area that we needed to quickly rebuild and with our recruits like Vicky, we are much more comfortable going into this season with the potential.”
On Nakano: “I had an opportunity to work with Yuya doing some sessions (with fellow TRU recruit Justin Donaldson) this summer after his coach Derrick Freedman contacted me about him coming to Kamloops. I watched him in some PCSL matches this summer and some great potential. He has a great work ethic, is very quick, technically good and can strike the ball with both feet. I believe he will cause some defenses problems as he likes to attack and look to either cross the ball or get shots on goal. He also works very hard defensively. He’ll be a good addition to our squad and we look forward to seeing his development this year.”
TRU is hosting an exhibition tournament next week at Hillside Stadium, Aug. 11-15. The WolfPack play the Quest University Kermodes of Whistler (PACWEST) Thursday at 10 a.m. Friday night, Aug. 12, they entertain the UNBC Timberwolves of Prince George at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, their opponents will be the MacEwan University Griffins of Edmonton, Alberta at 11 am. Sunday, Aug 14, the WolfPack square off with the Douglas College Royals of New Westminster, BC (PACWEST) at 1 p.m. and close things out Monday, Aug. 15, when they do battle with UNBC again.
Thompson Rivers kicks off their 2016 Canada West regular season on Saturday, Aug. 27, at Hillside Stadium when they entertain the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. Kickoff is 1 p.m.
THROW INS: Other WolfPack recruits this season: Kailum Nicolson (6’2”, centre back-Valleyview secondary/KYSA U-18); Brady VanRyswyk (6’2” keeper, Penticton,Princess Margaret secondary/Penticton Pinnacles, PSCL); Tomas Goddard (6’0” forward, St Ann’s Academy/Kamloops Youth Soccer U-18); Lubomir Magdolen (6’3” keeper, Sa-Hali secondary); Maxime Fieujean (5’8”, right back, Servas, France, FC Amberieu); Thomas Lantmeeters (6’2, center back, Zulendaal, Belguim, Sint-Jan Bergmans college Genk and KST/Zutendaal VV); and Justin Donaldson (5’10”, midfielder, Kamloops, St.Ann’s Academy/UVIC, CIS).