KELOWNA, BC – With open tryouts for the men's Heat soccer team starting in July, six young recruits have their work cut out for them.
With just two players graduating from UBCO's 2018 Canada West season, the Heat roster will look similar but this signing class will look to make an instant impact to the squad. Men's soccer head coach Dante Zanatta continues to bring in top-level talent from across B.C. and Alberta, and he has signed six new players for the upcoming 2019 UBC Okanagan Heat season.
Three strikers feature in this year's class with Mark Lawrence, Pierson Stanley, and local product Lucas Hicklin playing up front. All three will be adding some more offensive options for the Heat. Lone defender Sam Bastow will get support from versatile wing-back/midfielder Jacob Sol and midfielder Giuliano Montagliani—both fundamental two-way players. Four of the six recruits joining the Heat this year grew up in the Lower Mainland. Kelowna secondary graduate Hicklin along with Lawrence from Alberta the exceptions.
Head coach Zanatta is encouraged by this year's newcomers. He and lead assistant Tom Flannigan say the strong character of the new recruits, and their raw talent, will add a dynamic edge to this year's squad.
"Tom and I are very happy with this year recruiting class," says Zanatta. "We've been able to address area's where we feel we needed to improve on and are bringing in players that can push this year's team for positions and playing time. Not only are they quality soccer players, but they each have outstanding character and will be a great addition to the school and the community."
Joining the Heat is 6'1" centre-back Sam Bastow hailing from Coquitlam, B.C., and the soon to be graduate of Dr. Charles Best Secondary comes to the Heat bringing both skill and an impressive resume to boot. Bastow captured the 2018 club national championship with his Coquitlam Metro Ford club team, and in 2016 his CMF squad won a provincial title.
The defender also has a long list of accomplishments with his Charles Best Blue Devil's high school team, highlighted with a provincial title in 2017.
Bastow on his commitment:
"I chose UBCO because it's one of Canada's top universities with tons of opportunities in each faculty, and playing soccer for the university I'm attending has always been a dream of mine. We have lots of young talent on the team and I'm excited to see what coach Dante has planned for us."
Heat coach Dante Zanatta on Sam Bastow:
"Sam has the physical size to compete in U SPORTS as a defender right off the bat and processes the ability to play out of the back which will fit into how we like to play, each time that I have watched in over the past two years he continues to get better and we believe that he can be an impactful U SPORTS player over his four or five years at UBCO."
Lucas Hicklin will bring a local and attacking flair to the Heat next season as the 5'8" striker from Kelowna Secondary looks to make an instant impact next season with the UBCO men's soccer team.
A natural goal-scorer, Hicklin was awarded the golden boot for top scorer at the 2016 B.C. high school championships also earning the same award at the 2017 B.C. Catholic championships. Along with his success at the high school level, Hicklin has been part of the provincial high performance program from 2014-18, and as a member of Team B.C. he played for his province at the Pacific Challenge Series in 2015.
The striker was a member of Thompson Okanagan FC from 2013-18, before making the switch to Okanagan FC this past season.
The soon-to-be KSS graduate will enter the UBCO's School of Health and Exercise Science's human kinetics program. He eventually hopes to become a chiropractor.
Lucas Hicklin on coming to UBC Okanagan:
"I chose to attend UBC Okanagan due to its strong academic programs as a top ranked university in Canada. I am looking for a post secondary opportunity that will challenge me both academically and athletically and help me grow as a person and UBCO offers that. I was very excited when I received the opportunity from coach Zanatta to play U SPORTS soccer for the Heat, in my hometown, and in front of my family and friends. I have known a few of the guys on the team for a while now and I have played with them before so that helped a lot in my decision to play for the Heat."
Heat coach Dante Zanatta on Lucas Hicklin:
"We have been tracking Lucas for the past seven years, ever since he was with Kelowna United, before he moved on to TOFC. He has always had a nose for the net and the ability to get himself into scoring positions. Lucas is a tireless worker off the ball which will fit well in what we demand from our group. Lucas has a great passion to play the game and along with his technical base will have the potential for a successful U SPORTS career."
Another forward bolstering the Heat's attacking group is 6' 2" striker Mark Lawrence from Charles Spencer High in Grand Prairie, Alberta.
Lawrence led his high school team, the Mavericks, to a bronze medal finish at the 2016 Alberta provincial championships, winning the Golden Boot in the process.
Standing over six-feet tall Lawrence, will be another sizable striker who uses his height to his advantage. His size, along with his speed allows him to be a target man on the offensive side of the field, and he comes to UBCO with a reputation as a natural finisher.
Selected to the Alberta North team that played futsal in the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Greenland, Lawrence has honed his goal scoring skills with the Edmonton Scottish United Soccer Club and with The Academy Grande Prairie, a soccer academy offered across the Grande Prairie public school district.
The consistent honour roll student is looking forward to making the trek to the Okanagan, and he will be enrolling in the School of Engineering this fall.
Mark Lawrence on coming to UBC Okanagan:
"I'm excited to meet my new teammates and compete with the team. It is a beautiful location that offers a high level of soccer that will push me to become a well rounded athlete while I work towards my educational goals."
Heat coach Dante Zanatta on Mark Lawrence:
"Mark attended our ID camp last year and did quite well and we tracked him over the past year before committing with him. He will develop into a focal point of our attack over the next few years as he brings good pace, an ability to find the net both in the air and with his feet, along with a good physical presence that we where looking for in a striker. Mark has a great work rate and will put great pressure on the opposition's defenders."
With a rich family soccer tradition Giuliano Montagliani, a six-foot midfielder from Burnaby, B.C., will join the Heat men's soccer program next fall after starring for Mountain United FC over the past half-decade.
Last year (2018) with Mountain Untied, the highly skilled player was the top goal scorer for the North Shore club that captured the championship. Prior to joining MUFC, Montagliani played his early years of development with Burnaby's Cliff Avenue United FC.
In 2016 Montagliani was selected for the BC Soccer provincial High Performance Program, and has played some soccer in both Bulgaria and Italy.
Post-secondary athletics is nothing new to Giuliano, as his father won a men's soccer national championship at Simon Fraser while his older brother currently plays on the football team at that same Burnaby based university.
Currently attending St. Thomas More Collegiate, Montagliani will be looking for a degree to lead him on the path of becoming a stockbroker or a financial advisor following his undergrad, which led him to choose UBC Okanagan's Bachelor of Management program for the fall.
Giuliano Montagliani on coming to UBC Okanagan:
"I chose UBC Okanagan not only for the soccer team but also because I know the great academic reputation UBCO has and have heard good things about the school. I am excited to compete for the Heat and just be a student athlete in general. My main goal is to help the team win as many games as possible and also to prove myself as a player whenever I get the chance."
Heat coach Dante Zanatta on Giuliano Montagliani:
"Giuliano is blessed with a great soccer IQ and a great technical base to grow from. Not the fastest or flashiest player, Guiliano is a player that has the ability to link the game together and to be in the right place when required, we look forward in working with him for the next four or five years."
Jacob Sol, a product of Langley, B.C., has elected to pursue his university soccer career with the UBCO men's program, committing to the Heat for the fall of 2019.
As a highly accomplished and extremely versatile defender, Sol also has a strong set of attacking skills and with this variety of talents he can play virtually anywhere on the pitch.
One of the more winningest recruits for the Heat in recent memory, Sol has been the captain of three provincial title teams with his Surrey United Club, twice with top-four finishes at the Canadian national club championships, and two-time league champions.
As successful as Sol's club playing days have gone the five-foot 10 midfielder from Langley Fundamental turned in storybook championship runs claiming back-to-back golds at the B.C. AA high school provincial championships the past two Novembers, with an MVP, for the sometime fullback, on both occasions.
The defender, sometime midfielder, also excels off the pitch, as he has been an honour roll student every year of high school and has made strong contributions to his community with mission trips to Paraguay with SportsAid, and to Romania as part of his global education class.
In the classroom, Sol will enter the Faculty of Applied Science to earn his BASc in Civil Engineering at UBC Okanagan in hopes of one day becoming an architect.
Jacob Sol on coming to UBC Okanagan:
"UBC Okanagan was my first choice because it presented the most ideal academic and athletic scenario for me. The team seems very welcoming while maintaining a professional and competitive training environment. The Heat's competitive nature provides the perfect environment for me to develop even further as a player. Additionally, I really enjoy the playing style of this team and I hope to make a positive contribution to our game. I am looking forward to playing with this highly motivated group and believe that we can compete for championships in the future."
Heat coach Dante Zanatta on Jacob Sol:
"Jacob is an outstanding athlete who will be able to play multiple positions in the midfield or as a fullback, he is a player that comes to train each day and will give you his all. He will be an import piece of our group during his time at UBCO based on his versatility and his commitment to the program."
Playing his secondary school soccer with the West Vancouver Highlanders, Pierson Stanley the talented striker has committed to the Heat men's soccer for 2019. In three years of high school soccer Stanley averaged over a goal a match as he registered 40 goals and 21 assists in just 30 matches played.
His efforts for the Highlanders landed him player of the year honours in both 2016 and 2017.
The striker also competed at the Surf Cup, which promotes itself as one of the premier tournaments for youth soccer. He ended the 2018 edition of the tournament as the leading scorer, putting seven shots between the pipes and adding three assists in a mere three matches.
Stanley comes to the Heat advertised as a fast-paced player on the pitch, who has the ability to get behind the defence and one who plays with a strong will to score. Standing at 6'1" the Mountain United FC product is able to use his height and size to his advantage, whether it's shielding the defender or using that size to maintain possession of the ball.
Stanley comes to UBCO to join the Faculty of Management, and he is excited for the opportunity in the Okanagan as both a student and an athlete.
Pierson Stanley coming to UBC Okanagan:
"I chose UBCO because it has everything I need, the campus is well-maintained and welcoming, the right program is offered at UBCO, and the opportunities for me as a footballer encompass what I was looking for in a university. Combine those reasons with B.C.'s Interior mountains for the winter and B.C.'s lakes for the summer, is why I am excited to bring my talents and represent UBCO for school and soccer."
Heat coach Dante Zanatta on Pierson Stanley:
"Pierson has scored goals at every level of football that he has played at. He is blessed with very good athletic ability, this with his desire to be direct at the opposition will provide us with a different type of player than what we have at the present time. He has the ability to get into good scoring positions and with his development over the next five years we look forward to seeing Pierson scoring many goals for UBCO."