Abbotsford – The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer program has wrapped up its 2019 recruiting class, adding seven players to the roster for the 2019 Canada West campaign.
Head coach Tom Lowndes’s latest batch of signees is a coast-to-coast crew, featuring a quintet of B.C. players – midfielders Jasdeep Gill, Karman Buttar and William Stuart, defender Maguire Lauridsen, and goalkeeper Ethan Duggan – along with a duo from Nova Scotia, midfielder Liam Kelly and goalkeeper Thomas Veinot.
“I think we’ll have one of the deepest squads we’ve ever had,” said Lowndes, who guided a youthful Cascades squad to a fourth-place finish in Canada West in 2018. “We’ve got multiple players for each position, and when the season is as intense as ours is, you need depth and quality. I think we’d filled that gap with the players we’re bringing in.
“I think it speaks volumes that we’re able to expand our recruiting scope. I saw both of the Nova Scotia players compete at nationals over the course of a week in South Surrey, and was very impressed with them. They came back out to visit campus and liked it, and we’re very happy to expand our recruiting to the East Coast.”
6’0” midfielder, Langley, B.C.
L.A. Matheson Secondary
Gill helped drive the offence for a talented Surrey United squad which won the EA Sports B.C. Soccer Premier League (BCSPL) championship last season and finished fourth at the Canada Soccer U17 Cup in the fall. He was also selected for Team B.C. in what was a huge 2018 calendar year for the winger.
“He’s a very dynamic winger, a good one-v-one attacker,” Lowndes enthused. “He’s very shifty, very crafty, just a strong attacking player. I think he’s got all the tools to be successful at this level.”
“The small class sizes appealed to me, as well as the programs,” said Gill, who plans to major in computing science at UFV with the goal of becoming a software engineer. “My main goal on the pitch is to work hard and try to influence others to work hard as well.”
5’11” midfielder, Surrey, B.C.
Panorama Ridge Secondary
Buttar was a three-time BCSPL champion with Surrey United, winning it all in 2014, 2015 and 2018. He was selected for Team B.C. in 2015 and 2017, winning silver at the national championships in 2015.
“He’s a very creative player, a goal-scorer, and can play as a target or as a No. 10,” Lowndes said. “He looks to play between the lines and create opportunities. He’ll have a good university career.”
Buttar said that UFV’s outstanding kinesiology program was a major factor in his decision to sign with the Cascades.
“I also looked at the roster compared to other teams in B.C., and UFV seemed like to best choice for me in terms of how the soccer team is and how my studies would go,” he said. “If not the first year, then in the years after, I think we can win a championship.”
6’1” midfielder, Calgary, Alta.
Stuart launched his soccer career in his home province of Alberta, earning selection to the provincial team in 2014. The holding midfielder moved to B.C. in 2016 and has become a key cog for a Surrey United squad which won last year’s BCSPL title and finished fourth at the U17 national championships.
“He’ll bring us some outstanding depth in the central midfield,” Lowndes said. “He’s a good technical player with an engine to get up and down the field. I’m excited to see how he transitions to U SPORTS soccer.”
“I wanted to stay in B.C., and I liked the business programs they have here,” said Stuart. “I’m good defensively on the pitch, and I think I can add a physical aspect to the team.”
6’1” goalkeeper, North Vancouver, B.C.
Mountain United FC
Carson Graham Secondary
Duggan had an outstanding youth soccer career with Mountain FC, backstopping the club to a Phase 2 provincial title in the fall of 2018. He also suited up for Team B.C. in 2017, and excelled on the high school soccer scene with the Carson Graham Eagles, earning three league all-star nods.
“In Ethan and Jackson, I think we’ve signed the top two keepers from the BCSPL. He’s very athletic, a great shot-stopper, and very good distribution as well. He’ll come in and fight for the No. 1 spot, along with our other three young goalkeepers.”
A big part of the appeal of signing with UFV, for Duggan, had to do with the fact that the top two goalkeepers on last season’s depth chart – David Hicks and Alex Skrzeta – are graduating.
“They have a good young team with lots of players coming out of the BCSPL, and I thought I could fight for the starting spot,” explained Duggan, who is weighing his educational options between general studies or business at UFV. “I’m good coming out for crosses, but probably the best aspect of my game is playing out with my feet.”
5’11” defender, Vernon, B.C.
Thompson Okanagan FC
W.L. Seaton Secondary
Lauridsen knows what it takes to be a leader, having served as captain of his Thompson Okanagan FC club side and his W.L. Seaton high school soccer squad. He earned Whitecaps Academy all-star accolades, and helped his high school team to a provincial championship berth.
“He’s a very good defender who can play centre back or fullback,” Lowndes said. “He can get forward and join in with the attack, and he’s a real competitor who does what it takes to win. I could see him coming in and competing for playing time immediately.”
“I had already considered attending UFV prior to being approached by Coach Lowndes,” said Lauridsen, whose academic focus is on the sciences. “UFV has everything I need to meet my educational goals. The team seems to be young and driven with lots of potential. I’m ready to work hard improve as player during my time at UFV, and I’m looking forward to being a part of the team and their success.”
5’10” forward, Halifax, N.S.
Charles P. Allen High
Kelly had a breakout performance at the Canada Soccer U17 Cup last fall, scoring a tournament-leading seven goals in five games to earn the Golden Boot. His Suburban FC squad ended up finishing ninth overall, despite suffering just one loss – to a Surrey United squad which contained many future UFV teammates.
Kelly’s standout club soccer career was highlighted by a trio of provincial titles in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
“He’s a natural attacking midfielder,” Lowndes enthused. “He finds pockets of space and has an eye for the killer pass. He can finish, and can go box-to-box. We’re really happy to land someone of his quality.”
“It really is a dream come true to live in British Columbia,” said Kelly, who will pursue a business administration degree at UFV. “I’m so excited to study far from home and put my full commitment into the school, and my soccer team. My goal is to leave my mark on this team and do everything I can as a rookie to make our team produce results, and learn as much as I can from the senior players.”
6’7” goalkeeper, Bedford, N.S.
Charles P. Allen High
The physical attributes that Veinot brings to his goalkeeping chores are arresting – he’s a towering 6’7”. He’s experienced a great deal of success with his club side, teaming with Kelly to help his Suburban FC to a trio of Nova Scotia titles (2014, 2016 and 2018). Veinot also played three years with the Nova Scotia provincial team, winning Atlantic Canada titles in 2014 and 2015.
“He’s a big boy,” Lowndes noted with a chuckle. “He’s definitely got a presence in goal, and commands his box really well. He’s good on crosses, and can start an attack early with his distribution.”
Veinot also played varsity football and basketball at Charles P. Allen High School, earning special teams player of the year and league all-star honours as the kicker/punter for the football team.
“I’m excited to play soccer in an extended outdoor season in beautiful British Columbia,” said Veinot, who plans to pursue a degree in business administration at UFV. “I chose to attend UFV because I was presented with an amazing soccer and academic opportunity. I plan to continue my development as a soccer player and as a person at UFV, and I look forward to enjoying an amazing experience with my future teammates and classmates.”