Popadynetz named USPORTS First Team All-Canadian

  Posted on: November 8, 2017

Mitchell Popadynetz (far left) was named a USPORT First Team All Canadian (Andrew Snucins photo)

Mitchell Popadynetz has had a memorable fourth season of University soccer. The native of Nelson, BC has added another individual honor to his mantel piece.

The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack middle has become the school’s first ever USPORTS men’s soccer first team all-star.
Popadynetz was named to the first all-star team at this evenings USPORTS men’s soccer national championships.

Popadynetz was earlier named the Canada West player of the year and a first team all star after helping his team to a bronze medal finish. He led the Canada West in assists (10) and was tied for first in points (17).

“I think John and the coaching staff were a big part of my success,” the modest Popadynetz said after being selected a national all-Canadian. “ They made me feel so comfortable here. I think playing in the PDL this summer helped. I was in a different position which helped me out. “

“The award is very well deserved for Mitch,” said WolfPack head coach John Antulov. “Not only this season but over the last three years. We knew we were getting a special player when came to us from UBC. We knew what he could bring to the program. It is finally all coming together for him. He is not only an offensive guy. He has taken to everything we talked about on the defensive side of the ball and has become an excellent all-around player. For us, to have him hitting his stride this year was huge. We have surrounded him with good players so that has added to his skill set and what he can bring to the team. Overall, it has been a fantastic thing for our program. Great leader, great person and I am very happy for him.”

Here are the rest of the all-stars and major award winners courtesy of USPORTS:

StFX striker Dan Hayfield was honoured with the Joe Johnson Memorial Trophy as U SPORTS men’s soccer Player of the Year Wednesday night, as the national award winners were celebrated at the annual All-Canadian gala.

Championship Website
Past Award Winners

Carleton forward Gabriel Bitar captured the Lou Bilek award as Rookie of the Year, while Acadia defender Zachary Visser earned the Student-Athlete Community Service Award for his outstanding contribution both on and off the playing field. Cape Breton bench boss Dean Morley received the Coach of the Year award.

JOE JOHNSON MEMORIAL TROPHY (Player of the Year): Dan Hayfield, StFX

A third-year striker from Exeter, England, Hayfield finished fourth in the country in scoring with 13 goals and in doing so broke the StFX school record for goals scored in a single season. He also led the AUS conference in game-winning goals with six.

Hayfield led the X-Men to a 9-1-2 record this season and a second-place finish in the regular season standings—earning them a first-round playoff bye. In addition to being named league MVP, Hayfield was also named a U SPORTS All-Canadian for the first time and an AUS first team all-star for the second consecutive.

“Dan Hayfield’s biggest strength is his mentality. His perseverance, positive attitude and willingness to consistently train well have combined with his exceptional technical ability to produce a great U SPORTS soccer player,” said X-Men head coach Graham Kennedy. “It’s not often that a player of Dan’s calibre can also contend for a most improved player award but that’s the kind of work-ethic he has and he just keeps getting better because of it.”
CW: Mitchell Popadynetz, Thompson Rivers
OUA: Cristian Cavallini, York
RSEQ: Omar Kreim, Montréal

LOU BILEK AWARD (Rookie of the Year): Gabriel Bitar, Carleton

Carleton Ravens forward Gabriel Bitar is the 2017 recipient of the Lou Bilek Award as U SPORTS men’s soccer Rookie of the Year. Bitar becomes the first Raven to be named the recipient of the award.

Bitar enjoyed one of the most dominant rookie campaigns in the history of U SPORTS men’s soccer, scoring a nation-high 16 goals in his debut season. The 5-foot-9 striker had four multi-goal games and tallied at least one goal in 12 of 16 regular season outings.

Bitar, a graduate of Franco-Cité Catholic High School, was named the OUA East division most valuable player and conference rookie of the year following a magnificent season powering a U SPORTS-best Carleton offence. Bitar dazzled with tremendous demonstrations of skill all season, stifling defender after defender en route to his outstanding goal haul.

With six game-winning goals to his name, the Ottawa South United product was also named a first team all-star to open his career as a Raven. Bitar, native of Ottawa, Ont., is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree at Carleton University.

“It’s fantastic for Gabriel to be recognized for his play this season. He has been a dynamic and key player in our attack all year,” said head coach Kwesi Loney. “A player of his ability instills belief in the team knowing we are capable of scoring at any time. In only his first season, I look forward to watching him grow as a player and young man.”

CW: Victory Shumbusho, UBC
RSEQ: Heikel Jarras, Montréal
AUS: Charlie Waters, Cape Breton


A third-year defender with the Acadia Axemen and chemistry student from Winsloe South, P.E.I., Visser played in 11 of 12 games this season, while also maintaining a 3.98 cumulative GPA in the classroom.

He is heavily involved in the community, volunteering his time with an array of initiatives. He coordinates and organizes team fundraisers for the Canadian Cancer Society, the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. He also serves as an instructor for Acadia’s S.M.I.L.E. (Sensory Motor Instructional Learning Experience) program and has volunteered at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, P.E.I., during the summer months since 2012.

“Zach is a leader and role model for all of our student-athletes, which includes attempting to make a significant difference in the lives of others,” said Kevin Dickie, executive director of Acadia Athletics.

“While playing soccer is important to Zach, it is clear that academics is his priority and he has ensured that he maintains excellent academic results, added Axemen Soccer head coach Findlay MacRae. “In addition to regular captain duties, Zach also makes time to coordinate and participate in various team fundraising events on campus and in the community for causes such as cancer or Alzheimer’s research.”

Visser was Acadia’s nominee as an AUS representative for the U SPORTS Top 8 Academic All-Canadians. He has a perfect 4.0 GPA and is the first Acadia player to receive the men’s soccer Student-Athlete Community Service Award.

CW: Toluwalope Esan, Alberta
OUA: Andrea Cicciarella, UOIT
RSEQ: Sanchit Gupta, McGill

COACH OF THE YEAR: Dean Morley, Cape Breton

This marks the first time Dean Morley has been awarded U SPORTS Coach of the Year and the first time in school history a Cape Breton bench boss has received the award.

The Capers finished the regular season with an 11-0-1 record and finished first in the AUS standings. The Capers scored 32 goals for and allowed six, the most in the conference, and reached the No.1 ranking in the U SPORTS Top 10 to conclude the season for the first time in school history.

Morley has been the Capers’ head coach since 2014, following seven years as assistant coach with the program. Prior to his coaching career, Morley played for the Capers from 2004 to 2006. A native of Nottingham, England, Morley has been on the Capers coaching staff for all four of their AUS championships and both U SPORTS medals (silver and bronze) at the national tournament.

“Dean Morley has established himself as one of the best men’s soccer coaches in the country in just four years at the helm of our CBU program,” said Cape Breton University athletic director, John Ryan. “His leadership, vision, hard work, and relentless pursuit of success has allowed him to develop complete champions in his student-athletes. Coach Morley develops outstanding young men, instilling the values of hard work, respectfulness, modesty, and community spirit. We are pleased that he has earned this well-deserved recognition by his peers.”

CW: Mike Shearon, Trinity Western
OUA: Kweso Loney, Carleton
RSEQ: Samir Ghrib, Université Laval


First Team

Pos. First Name Last Name School Eligibility Hometown Program
GK Nizar Houhou Laval 4 Melun, France Health & Phys. Ed.
D Daniel Gogarty York 4 Toronto, Ont. Business Economics
D Noah Cunningham Alberta 2 St Albert, Alta. Education
M Cristian Cavallini York 2 Woodbridge, Ont. Liberal Arts
M Omar Kreim Montréal 2 Laval, Que. Law
M Mitchell Popadynetz Thompson Rivers 4 Nelson, B.C. Business
M Marcus Lees UNB 5 Brampton, Ont. Sports & Recreation Studies (Masters)
F Ajeej Sarkaria Alberta 2 Edmonton, Alta. Business
F Gabriel Bitar Carleton 1 Ottawa, Ont. Undeclared
F Daniel Hayfield StFX 3 Exeter, UK Arts
F Frederic Gravel-Lajoie Montréal 4 Gatineau, Que. Psychology & Sociology

Second Team

Pos. First Name Last Name School Eligibility Hometown Program
GK Connor James Alberta 4 Edmonton, Alta. Business
D Hugo Lapointe Senecal Laval 5 Quebec City, Que. Sciences
D Ismail Sow Montréal 2 Ottawa, Ont. Business Admin.
D Ryan Parris Acadia 4 Pembroke, Bermuda Business Admin.
D Devon Bowyer Toronto 5 Toronto, Ont. Health Policy
M Cory Bent Cape Breton 2 Preston, U.K. Business Admin.
M Felipe Da Costa Souza UQAM 5 Verdun, Que. Marketing
M Charlie Waters Cape Breton 1 Lancashier, U.K. Community Studies
M Lukas MacNaughton Toronto 5 Toronto, Ont. Graduate Studies
F Jace Kotsopoulos Guelph 3 Burlington, Ont. Management, Economics & Finance
F Victory Shumbusho UBC 1 Chilliwack, B.C. Arts

All-Rookie Team

Pos. First Name Last Name School Eligibility Hometown Program
FB Joe Hamilton UNB 1 Morecambe, Iancashi Arts
M Connor Wilson Western 1 London, Ont. King’s College
M Marko Mandekic Toronto 1 Kitchener, Ont. Management
M Heikel Jarras Montréal 1 St-Léonard, Que. Math
M Kwame Opoku Saskatchewan 1 Calgary, Alta. Engineering
M Patrick Izett UBC 1 Delta, B.C. Arts
M Blake Fenton StFX 1 Halifax, N.S. Arts
F Gabriel Bitar Carleton 1 Ottawa, Ont. Undeclared
F Simon Malaborsa Concordia 1 Montreal, Que. Economics
F Charlie Waters Cape Breton 1 Lancashier, UK Community Studies
F Victory Shumbusho UBC 1 Chilliwack, B.C. Arts

The 2017 USPORTS men’s soccer nationals begin tomorrow (Thursday) at Hillside Stadium. The opening round matchups have UBC against UNB at 11 am, Carleton battles Montreal at 1:30 pm. TRU faces York at 5 pm with UQAM meeting up with Cape Breton at 7:30pm. The event wraps up on Sunday afternoon.

Gabrial Bitar  Rookie of the Year (Nov 8, 2017 Snucins)

Dan Hayfield  Player of the Year (Nov 8, 2018 Snucins)

Deano Morley Coach of the Year (Nov 8, 2017 Snucins)

2017 USPORTS First all-star team (Nov 8, 2017 Snucins)

2017 USPORTS 2nd Allstar team (Nov 8, 2017 Snucins)

2017 USPORTS Rookie team (Nov 8, 2017 Snucins)


Paul Michel (Nov 8, 2017 Snucins)

Sheldon Kennedy (Nov 8, 2017 Snucins)

Dr Allan Shaver (Nov 8, 2017 Snucins)


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