It's been another busy postseason of college soccer in both Canada and the United States for former Whitecaps FC BMO MLS Academy boys players. A number of 'Caps took home the title up north, while a pair are still alive down south.
The 2022 U Sports national championship was played earlier this month in Kamloops, BC. The title game featured the host Thompson Rivers University and the University of British Columbia.
Multiple Whitecaps FC Academy alumni featured in the runs for both the Wolfpack and the Thunderbirds. In the end, the Wolfpack won their first ever national championship in a shootout after a 1-1 draw through extra time. TRU are coached by Whitecaps FC BMO Kamloops Academy head coach John Antulov.
The newly crowned national champion TRU featured Daniel Sagno from Winnipeg (Class of 2016) and Patrick Izett, Akwasi Agyekum from Calgary (Class of 2021), Alesandro Comita from Kamloops (Class of 2022), Coquitlam's Elijah Dos Santos, and with goalkeepers Jonathan Rinaldi and Alessandro Lizzi as well as midfielder Domenico Comita spending time in the Whitecaps FC BMO Kamloops Academy. TRU has been consistently gaining a reputation as an annual national title challenger.
Alesandro Comita scored the goal for the Wolfpack in extra time, with brother Domenico Comita hitting the winning penalty.
UBC has consistently had a pipeline from the Whitecaps FC BMO MLS academy. Their squad featured a large group of 'Caps academy alumni with Victory Shumbusho from Chilliwack (2017), North Vancouver's Thomas Gardner (2017), Nick Fussell from Surrey (2018), Logan Chung from Port Coquitlam (2019), Coquitlam’s Asvin Chauhan (2022), Surrey’s Joshua Tome (2022), and Ottawa’s Eric Lajeunesse (2022). Calgary's Daniel Kaiser also spent time with the 'Caps, while graduate student Terrell Smith (2017) from Coquitlam finished his NCAA four-year career with Santa Clara University and came back for a U-Sports 5th year playing season to begin a masters degree.
The 2022 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Soccer Tournament has been full of excitement, and two Whitecaps FC BMO Academy alumni are fighting to reach the final four.
The University of Portland pilots boast a pair of alums in Vancouver’s Gurman Sangha (2018) and Surrey’s Brandon Cambridge (2020). The pilots defeated the University of California-Riverside 2-1 in the first round with a goal from Sangha.
They then took down Oregon State 2-0 with an assist from Cambridge, and a goal from Muslim Umar who also spent time in the Whitecaps FC BMO Academy. Finally in the third round they defeated Western Michigan to give themselves a shot at reaching the final four. They will play at the University of Pittsburgh this Saturday, December 3 at 10 a.m. PT.
The final four will be hosted in Cary, North Carolina on December 9-12.
The Western Michigan team that Portland defeated featured LaSalle, Ontario's Stephan Belanger (2021). The reigning MAC champion Broncos defeated the University of Louisville Cardinals 2-1 in round one, and Lipscomb 1-0 in round two.
Delta’s Harrison Gough (2022) was on the other side for the Lipscomb University Bison. The Nashville based team are the reigning Atlantic Sun Conference Champions and earned a bye into the second round.
Other Whitecaps FC MLS Academy alumni have also been are representing our club and Canada across many teams that have battled strong across the fall season to qualify for the prestigious event in the race for the national title.
The Ohio State University Buckeyes became a nationally ranked power this year with the help of two academy defenders that have been consistent starters since their arrival. Vancouver’s Deylen Vellios (2020) and Langley’s Nathan Demian (2021). They both played every minute in helping the Buckeyes get past Wake Forest 3-0 in the first round, before falling in a shootout to UNC-Greensboro.
The UCLA Bruins feature academy striker Thomas Raimbault (2020) of Wellington, New Zealand. They defeated California Baptist 2-1 in the first round, and sixth ranked Clemson 2-1 in the second round before falling 3-0 against Vermont.
That California Baptist Lancers squad are the reigning Western Athletic Conference Champions and have a pair of academy goalkeepers in North Vancouver’s Evan Ince (2019) and Langley’s Nolan Premack (2020). Premack started, making two saves.
The NCAA Div.1 tournament bracket is on: ncaa.com/brackets/soccer-men/d1/2022