The 2017-18 season was a ‘coming of age’ period for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer program.
The WolfPack, under the direction of head coach John Antulov won their first ever Canada West and U SPORTS medals. Both were bronze.
In their first ever playoff drive since moving to the top level of Canadian University Sports, The WolfPack downed the Saskatchewan Huskies on the road in the quarterfinal before moving onto the Canada West final four where they beat Alberta in the bronze medal match. This was followed up by the WolfPack hosting the U SPORTS Soccer Nationals where the Pack defeated the UBC Thunderbirds 3-2 in penalty kicks to capture the bronze medal.
That victory, before a packed Hillside Stadium was also the ‘swan song’ athletically for keeper Alan Connors (Kamloops, BC), Ryan Glanville (Williams Lake, BC), Colton Walker (Sicamous, BC) and Brandon Mendez (Calgary, AB). Connors, and Mendez have all moved into assistant coaching positions on this year’s team. Also new to the coaching staff is Hee Young Cheung who played with TRU when they were in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association.
Offensively, the WolfPack will be led by Canada West MVP and U SPORTS All-Canadian Mitch Popadynetz (Nelson, BC), Justin Donaldson (Kamloops, BC) and James Fraser (Penticton, BC).
Returning are Canada West rookie all-stars Joshua Banton (London, England) and Jan Pirrates Glasmacher (Barcelona, Spain) and second team all-star Finlay McPhie (Vernon, BC). Another veteran leading the way will be Thomas Lantmeeters (Zulendaal, Belgium).
Poadynetz, McPhie, and Jason Staiger (Agassiz, BC) are the team’s fifth year players in 2018-19.
Despite the graduation of Connors, the ‘Pack should be solid in the nets with returning veterans Lubomir Magdolen (Kamloops, BC), Alex Ram (Leicester, England) and Brady VanRyswyk (Penticton, BC).
Younger players hungry for field time include Harry Coles (Shrewsbury, England), Emmanuel Anoiogbe (Port Coquitlam, BC), Zahk Barone (Kamloops, BC) and Jordon Afonso (Penticton, BC).