Posted on: May 29, 2018
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s soccer team have added another recruit for the upcoming Canada West season. This time, it is a midfielder who has ties to Kamloops.
Head coach John Antulov and the WolfPack are pleased to formally announce that Masen Fernandes has decided to return home after spending a season playing NAIA soccer at Midfield University in Nebraska. Fernandes, who spent his early years in 100 Mile House, BC is a 2017 graduate of Sa-Hali Secondary in Kamloops.
“It was a great experience going to Midland but coming home and playing for TRU was always a goal,” says Fernandes who suited up for six matches with the Warriors. “ The American experience was good and I think I grew as a player but I am happy to be home.”
“The fast play was the biggest transition from high school for sure,” he adds when asked about moving to university soccer.
Fernandes and Antulov know each other. They worked together for three years with the Vancouver Whitecaps Academy. “I think that experience will make the transition easier. “
“He will have no preconceived notions of how I operate and visa versa so training camp should be pretty seemless for him,’ Antulov explains.
“Passing and vision are my main strengths,” he adds.
Fernandes believes he is joining the WolfPack at a great time since they do have some openings in the midfield. “It is a perfect time to come in. The quality players they have back from last year’s team that was third at Nationals is unbelievable.”
“I think he saw that there is a great opportunity for him to fight for some playing time,” Antulov adds. “ With Colton Walker (Sicamous, BC) graduating and Anatoli (Levielle, Winnipeg, MB) unfortunately not coming back this year, it gives him a great chance to get some playing time.”
Fernandes played for long time coach and teacher Mary Bartucci at Sa-hali, “ I absolutely loved coaching Masen. He came to us late, but fit in easily and bought into our philosophy right away. Masen is one of the most well-rounded players I have had the pleasure of coaching; versatile and just as much a threat defensively as he is offensively. Masen was an effective play-maker for us at center mid – he was our “engine”. He’s creative, can read a play or a player easily, and has a great pair of feet! When he played for us, he was consistently double and triple teamed, yet still shifty enough to come out with the ball. He’s a true team player – as good as he was, he never needed it to be about him. He always made the play that was best for the team, not for his ego. Masen was admired by his teammates – they looked up to him not only for his talent and experience, but also his loyalty and selflessness. Masen brought out the best in his teammates as he inspired them to play to his level. Masen’s grade 11 year was one of my favorites. It was a unique group of guys who were the epitome of a team – the heart, dedication to each other, and chemistry they had was very special, and Masen played a big part in that. Masen has played a huge role in the success of our program in the past few years as both a teammate and a role model.
Bartucci believes he will adjust well to USPORTS competition, “- I think he will adapt well, he has always been very gritty and tenacious, but can back it up with some agility and vision of the field. I enjoyed watching his games online last year, but am more excited to have him back and be able to watch him at home again. “
Fernandes is familiar with a number of current members of the TRU squad. He played high school soccer with Lubomir Magdolen and Zahk Barone, minor soccer and at the Whitecaps Academy with fellow recruit Kolton Storzuk and was on a travelling team to Europe with Scott Cramer. As well, future teammate Justin Donaldson helped coach Fernandes when he was 15 years old.
He is looking forward to stepping onto the field at Hillside Stadium for the first time in as Thompson Rivers University jersey. “It will be exciting. They are obviously the best team in Kamloops at this point of my career. It will be a real thrill.”
THROW-INS: Fernandes will play this summer with about 13 of his future teammates with the Kamloops, WolfPack: the local entry in the Pacific Coast Soccer League’s men’s premier division.
“That will give us (TRU coaching staff) a chance to see how he has development and gives him a chance to get familiar with the guys,” adds Antulov who is acting as the manager of the summer team. Former players and now assistant coaches Brandon Mendez, Ryan Glanville and Hee Yeung Chung are acting as the head coaches.
When it comes to recruiting, Antulov says he is still on the lookout for more players. “I think we have a few more spots to fill. We are talking to some university transfers and international players. I thought it was going to be as pretty quiet summer. We do have our core group intact. We need some depth and the ability to keep our skill level up if we sustain suspensions or injuries.”
The other confirmed recruits for this coming season are: Jackson Gardner (6’1” keeper, Chilliwack, BC-Sardis Secondary) and Stanley Obinna (6’2” Wing, Kristiansand, Norway-Grim Ungdomskole/Staffordshire County U-18).
TRU training camp begins in early August.
<a data-flickr-embed=”true” href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/54238153@N04/41710333674/in/dateposted-public/” title=”Masen Fernandes ( May 25, 2018)”><img src=”https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1760/41710333674_4c6bff4ff8_q.jpg” width=”150″ height=”150″ alt=”Masen Fernandes ( May 25, 2018)”></a><script async src=”//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
<a data-flickr-embed=”true” href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/54238153@N04/28560719488/in/dateposted-public/” title=”Masen Fernandes game action 1 (Photo submitted)”><img src=”https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1731/28560719488_2874ce3e66_q.jpg” width=”150″ height=”150″ alt=”Masen Fernandes game action 1 (Photo submitted)”></a><script async src=”//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
<a data-flickr-embed=”true” href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/54238153@N04/28560719858/in/dateposted-public/” title=”Masen Fernandes and Lubo Magdolen (photo submitted)”><img src=”https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1736/28560719858_77cc60f40f_q.jpg” width=”150″ height=”150″ alt=”Masen Fernandes and Lubo Magdolen (photo submitted)”></a><script async src=”//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
<a data-flickr-embed=”true” href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/54238153@N04/41710336244/in/dateposted-public/” title=”Masen Fernandes game action 2 (photo submitted)”><img src=”https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1725/41710336244_e4d1923a10_q.jpg” width=”150″ height=”150″ alt=”Masen Fernandes game action 2 (photo submitted)”></a><script async src=”//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>