VANCOUVER, BC – Chances come few and far between in the beautiful game.
Rewarded are the few who grasp opportunities with both hands.
Last Sunday was a microcosm of Chris Serban’s story – a tale that started in Calgary as a young Romanian immigrant, and is now being told on the UBC Thunderbird Stadium pitch as a promising right back for Whitecaps FC 2.
Serban scores first pro goal in thrilling 2-2 draw with OKC
Right around the hour-mark of a deadlock affair with OKC Energy FC, WFC2 midfielder Sahil Sandhu kept a 'Caps chance alive by getting a foot on a long throughball on the right goal line.
Already a broken play, an Energy FC defender managed to disrupt the attempted cross, but failed to put enough into the clearance.
The deflected ball bounced aimlessly in the box, unattended for a split-second, when Serban, alert and decisive, flashed from outside the corner of the box and into the scene. Before anyone could even realize the situation, Serban had done what he’s always done.
He recognized the opportunity and took it, scoring his first professional goal.
“When you give your best in training, you should be ready for every opportunity.” - Serban
Serban soon caught the eye of UBC Thunderbirds coach Mike Mosher. Not one to pass up an opportunity to further develop his game while securing university education, Serban put on a T-Birds jersey and did not skip a beat with his new team. As a rookie, he was a key figure in a UBC backline that allowed just seven goals in 12 matches. After a 9W-2L-1D season that resulted in a Canada West Final Four berth, Serban was honoured with the Lou Bilek Award as the CIS Rookie of the Year.
“From the first day I saw him as a trialist for the Whitecaps Residency, I knew he had something," Mosher said. "This is a player with a real hunger and desire to improve as a soccer player and this passion shows with how hard he works every day."
Now an important player for the inaugural WFC2 side, Serban has seized the opportunity to further hone his craft under head coach Alan Koch and to test himself against the club’s first team players in training sessions.
“It’s a great opportunity to develop, to get to train hand-in-hand with the MLS team. They’re quality players and I can learn a lot from them, and hopefully, one day, I can get there,” Serban said.
“He’s like a sponge. Everything that gets thrown at him, he just soaks it up,” Koch said approvingly. “When he first came out to the club with Residency, he developed there. He went to UBC, he was given a chance there, and he developed there. Since he’s been here with WFC2, he’s been getting better and better. His desire and application to get better is fantastic.”
Back to Thunderbird Stadium where the ‘Caps take the lead on a striker’s finish – only the finisher was actually a right back.
A right back who did not just happen to be in the right place at the right time, but one who placed himself in the right place at the right time.
It was Chris Serban, once again, grasping opportunity with both hands.
Serban and the 'Caps are back at UBC on Sunday afternoon against Real Monarchs SLC. Secure your tickets today.
Come and see the next generation of Whitecaps FC stars as USL arrives in Vancouver. WFC2 matches are a unique and affordable experience for fans, families, students, and supporters. Season Tickets start as low as $118, with prorated prices available. Flex packs are also available to fit your schedule – get seven tickets to use any way you want, to any matches you want. For more information on all WFC2 ticket options, call 604-484-7862 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.