Four teammates from Surrey United’s U18 boys squad have signed with the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer program and will join the Cascades in the fall.
The quartet – comprised of attacking players Noah Da Silva, Tré Spedding and Karan Kular, and centre back Sammy Kajzerek – is tremendously accomplished, having helped their club win a national championship at the U16 level in 2015.
Kular and Kajzerek have played together at Surrey United since 2012, winning four straight provincial championships (2012-2015). Spedding joined the cohort in 2013, and Da Silva came on board in 2014 after a two-year stint in the Vancouver Whitecaps residency program.
Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes said it’s “massive” for the Cascades to land all four.
“It’s really exciting when we can go to one of the top clubs in the country and recruit four of their top graduating players,” he said. “You’re always looking for cohesion, and when you bring in four players who have grown up playing together, that chemistry is a big plus as they transition to the university game.”
Noah Da Silva / 5’9” midfielder, Delta, B.C. / Seaquam Secondary
Da Silva is an electric offensive player who excels in big games – he notched two goals in the aforementioned U16 national championship final, and had six goals in the tournament.
“He’s one of the top recruits we’ve ever signed, and landing a player of his calibre is a sign of the growth of our program,” Lowndes said. “He does things with a soccer ball that you could only dream of. He causes defenders nightmares, he attacks with such pace and velocity, and can finish as well.”
“I thought this was the right choice, because I know Tom from Surrey United and I really like him as a coach,” said Da Silva, who will study criminology at UFV. “And then to spend the next five years with my friends, I just thought it was the right choice. . . . I’d definitely like to win a national title with these guys, and I think we can do it. These guys are a talented bunch.”
Tré Spedding / 5’9” midfielder, Surrey, B.C. / Cloverdale Learning Centre
Spedding, in Lowndes’s words, is “a very technical attacking player.”
“He has an eye for goal, and he can play a variety of different positions,” Lowndes said. “Physically he’s ready for the university game, and his soccer IQ will help him transition well. And he defends as well as he attacks, which is a huge bonus.”
“I chose UFV because it’s easy to commute to and it’s close to home, but it also has a really good criminology program,” Spedding said. “I’m excited that I’ll get to play with three of my regular teammates. It’s more comfortable.”
Karan Kular / 5’10” forward, Surrey, B.C. / Sullivan Heights Secondary
Kular, yet another dynamic attacking player, formed a highly productive partnership with Da Silva and Spedding with Surrey United.
“Karan’s a dangerous attacker, and another player who has an eye for goal,” Lowndes said. “He’s deadly in and around the penalty box, and he’s able to link up the play between the midfield and the front players. Physically, he can cause defenders a lot of problems, and I’m excited to see how he transitions to U Sports soccer.”
Kular, who plans to take criminology at UFV, said he was excited to make the move to university alongside his club teammates.
“I thought it would be great to experience these (university) years with them,” he said. “The limit is winning the national title, right? That’s the most we can do, and I think we’re quite capable of that. I think we’re going to be good.”
Sammy Kajzerek / 6’0” centre back, Surrey, B.C. / Fraser Heights Secondary
Kajzerek is the lone defender among the UFV-bound Surrey United crew, and Lowndes believes he can be equally impactful at the opposite end of the park.
“Sammy’s a very technical defender, a very smart player,” Lowndes said. “He’s someone who can come in and make an immediate impact. He’s a winner, and he can do the things you want your centre back to do in terms of tackle, mark, defend. But he’s also very good with the ball at his feet, and can get us playing at the back.”
Kajzerek is the lone non-criminology student of the bunch – he’ll study business at UFV.
“I wanted to stay local, and I think it’s a great thing to start with players you’ve played with because then you’re more comfortable,” he said, reflecting on why he signed with the Cascades.