Posted on: July 19, 2017
It’s an important year for the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer program. To make sure that the players have the best support possible, head coach John Antulov has added two experienced coaches to his staff for the 2017-18 season.
Antulov has veterans Tim Hutton and Adam Dodgson returning to the sidelines this coming fall. They will be joined by two TRU instructors: Peter Soberlak and Greg Kozoris as they gear up to host the 2017 USport Men’s Soccer Nationals in November.
Says Antulov: “We are very happy that both have joined our program. Peter came on originally to help our staff grow our culture, player psychology as a group and individually. He has made a significant impact since January working with our group. Greg will join us in preseason working with our players on strength, fitness and diet. Both bring another component on bringing our program to the next level and helping our group work towards the nationals.”
The WolfPack coach says the decision to add the two came after discussions with Athletics and Recreation Director Ken Olynyk and Vice President of Administration and Finance Matt Milovick. “We wanted to ensure that we gave our group every opportunity to succeed with us getting Nationals. Ken and Matt have been very supportive of bringing their expertise to our players and our coaching staff to make us better.”
“It’s a great opportunity and I am excited to be working with the guys with a goal towards nationals,” says Kozoris who is also a teacher in the Kamloops Thompson School District. “I look forward to working with the other coaches and the players. John runs a strong program which is very much regimented. That’s a system that I like.’
Kozoris did an internship with the National Junior soccer program in the late 1990’s along with working with the UBC men’s and Junior Whitecap programs.
He has worked in exercise science/exercise physiology for 23 years. He consults with four professional teams ranging from the NHL to Major League Baseball and works with a number of high level professional and amateur athletes. He owned and operated Acceleration Kozoris Strength and Conditioning for the last 15 years. He has four degrees from UBCO, Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia and currently sponsored by the California Institute of Technology-Caltech and UC Berkeley. Greg is also the strength coach of the Kamloops Blazers and has taught exercise physiology and exercise science at TRU for the last nine years.
“I am really looking forward to it,” Soberlak says. “John has really put together a great program. I don’t know if I have worked with someone better. He is the whole package in terms of a coach who really knows the game both technical and tactically. I think the entire coaching staff will work great together in terms of building an exciting, positive culture to the team.”
He has a very diverse background. Soberlak is a former professional hockey player. As a consultant, he has worked in the past with both the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets and the Kamloops Blazers. He has worked with many other individual clients all over North America in several different sports and has worked with many athletes and coaches at TRU in the past. Soberlak is also an instructor in the athletics portion of the Bachelor of Education program at Thompson Rivers.
Soberlak adds: “I think a major component of my duties will be to assist John in building that culture and setting those expectations. We really want to get the most out of the players. I will be watching for their compete level and what they are doing away from the ball.”
He believes that there will be no adjustment transitioning what he has done with hockey and volleyball teams to soccer. “Team sports are team sports. Setting those core values and expectations are very similar to hockey. We have an incredible group of guys. Strong, physical and amazing athletes.”
Soberlak believes Antulov has already done a great job of connecting with his players and is a great communicator. “As a sports psychology consultant, I believe that those connections with athletes are the most important things. As a coach, if you can’t make those connections and have players play for you: at the end of the day you won’t be successful. A lot of coaches don’t understand that. That is where John and Tim go those extra miles to make connections with their athletes. Everyone is unique. We need to spend that time ‘off the field’ and make sure everybody is happy, comfortable and able to perform at their best no matter what age they are and what life situation you are in.”
Both of the new coaches will join with their colleagues to evaluate players when the WolfPack begin their 2017-18 training camp in early August at Hillside Stadium. The ‘Pack begin their 2017 Canada West season on August 25th in Prince George, BC against the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves. Their home opener is set for Saturday, September 2nd at Hillside with a 1 pm kick off against the University of Victoria Vikes.
THROW INS: Antulov on what the two bring to the table: “Years of expertise and knowledge. These guys are some of the best in their fields and it would have been crazy for me to pass up on these guys helping me and our coaching staff to become more knowledgeable and improve us and our players. But they are also great people and I believe we will work really well together to get the best results.”