Abbotsford – The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team has signed four players as it continues to build towards the 2020 Canada West campaign.
Head coach Tom Lowndes has brought together an eclectic group featuring a pair of locals set to make their university debuts (forwards Jeevan Dhaliwal and Will Bundy), a veteran transfer from the college ranks (winger Taylor Richardson), and an international player to boost the backline (German centre back Tobias Spiess).
“We identified certain areas we think we need to improve upon – that’s why it’s a smaller class this year, and more select,” Lowndes said. “I believe the players we’ve brought in will impact us. It was a case of finding the right pieces to add to the group, and I think we’ve done that.”
5’10” forward, Surrey B.C.
Fraser Valley FC
Panorama Ridge Secondary
Dhaliwal had a strong club career with Fraser Valley FC, winning BC Soccer Premier League (BCSPL) League Cups in 2016 and 2017. He also sparkled on the high school soccer scene, leading his Panorama Ridge Thunder to three straight B.C. AAA title games and winning the championship in 2019. Dhaliwal’s goal stood up as the game-winner in a 3-0 win over crosstown rival L.A. Matheson in the provincial final.
“Jeevan is a quality attacking player – very dangerous going forward, creating on the ball,” Lowndes said. “He can thread a pass, and also beat players 1-v-1. I’m excited to bring a player with his attacking qualities into our squad next season.”
“I have always been a student-athlete throughout high school, and it was my dream to continue this through to post-secondary,” said Dhaliwal, who will pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree at UFV. “I chose UFV because I wanted to be a part of an institution that would challenge me athletically and academically. I hope to be a contributing member during my time as a Cascade and bring home some titles for the school.”
5’9” forward, Langley B.C.
Coastal FC / Surrey Tigers
R.E. Mountain Secondary
Bundy’s prep career featured a stint with the Vancouver Whitecaps’ pre-residency program, and he was a Team B.C. selection for three consecutive years. He also won a title with the 2000 Coastal FC squad. Bundy was also part of the Surrey Tigers premier men’s team which won provincial and national championships.
“Will is a dynamic attacking player who will bring additional firepower to our frontline for next season,” Lowndes said. “He is creative in 1-v-1 situations and I believe he will be able to cause U SPORTS defenders problems with his pace and power. Will’s experience playing men’s soccer, most notably winning the Canadian club championships with Surrey Tigers, should help him transition into U SPORTS soccer smoothly.”
“I chose UFV because I heard nothing but great things about the organization and I thought it was good opportunity for me to play again with some old friends,” said Bundy, who will study business at UFV. “My goal is to score goals and help the team to a national title.”
6’4” winger, Langley B.C.
Richardson spent three seasons at the PACWEST level with the Douglas Royals, and was instrumental in their success. He was a conference first team all-star in 2018 after scoring six goals in 12 regular-season games, and in 2019, he led the Royals to a PACWEST title and a berth at the CCAA national championships. Richardson was named a national tourney all-star after registering two goals and an assist over four games as Douglas finished fourth.
“Taylor is a player we’ve had our eye on for a year or two now,” Lowndes said. “He’s a quality attacking threat – pacey, a natural winger, a talented 1-v-1 attacker. We’re excited to have him come in and finish off his university career over the next couple years with us.”
“I am optimistic about my next season as a Cascade and what their program has to offer,” said Richardson, who will study kinesiology at UFV. “I am eager to further my career in soccer and academics, and I have no doubt that this program will help me do that.”
6’2” centre back, Nuremberg, Germany
SC 04 Schwabach
Spiess becomes the second German on the Cascades’ roster, joining defender Kadir Yagci, who recently completed his first season. Spiess, a Nuremberg product, played club soccer locally for SC 04 Schwabach this past season, starting all 21 games and registering a goal and an assist. A career highlight was playing in front of 10,000 fans at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, the home of Real Madrid.
“Tobias will provide much needed depth and competition to the centre back position, whilst also being able to play as a central midfielder,” Lowndes said. “He has played for some very strong youth and men’s clubs in Germany and I have no doubt that his experience will serve him well as he transitions to life in Canada. Tobias is also a strong student wanting to pursue his degree in business, meaning he fits the mould of a UFV men’s soccer student-athlete.”
“Tom Lowndes convinced me that UFV isn´t just perfect for me as a soccer player, it´s also great because of the business program,” Spiess echoed. “Another big reason why I chose UFV is because of the landscape, the people in Canada, and the city. I visited Vancouver last year and I was surprised by their kindness and helpfulness. That was impressive.”