The UFV Cascades men’s soccer team has signed seven new players for the 2022 Canada West season. (Dan Kinvig/UFV Athletics)

The UFV Cascades men’s soccer team has signed seven new players for the 2022 Canada West season. (Dan Kinvig/UFV Athletics)

UFV Cascades men’s soccer sign seven local products

Abbotsford’s Gurjivan Ark one of seven new players debuting with team later this year

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team has reloaded its roster in advance of the 2022 Canada West season, inking seven local products.

The team announced the additions of defenders Carson Muter and Ry Mackie, midfielders Jayden Bassra, Tyler Sayers, Gurjivan Ark and Sehaj Bajwa, and forward Mateo Brazinha on March 8.

“This group brings a variety of qualities that allow us to be deeper in multiple positions, which allows us to have stability and depth,” UFV head coach Tom Lowndes said. “They have an opportunity to come in and compete for playing time right away. Their work rate as a group and individuals is really, really high, and they all fit the mould that we look for in a student-athlete for our soccer program.”

Ark is the lone Abbotsford signing and is a 5-11 winger. He attended Abbotsford Traditional Secondary, played for Abbotsford United and won back-to-back provincial championships, in 2018 and 2019, with the Fraser Valley Selects.

“Gurjivan’s a hardworking midfielder,” Lowndes said. “He’ll bring more depth to our central midfield position. He’s great at breaking up the opposition’s play, and he reads the game well. We’re excited to bring him in and learn from veteran players like Trevor Zanatta, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can bring to the group.”

“I chose UFV because it has a competitive soccer program, and it’s the right fit for me for soccer and academics,” said Ark, who plans to enrol in the Bachelor of Science program. “I’ve known some of the older players on the team, like Parman (Minhas) and Ajai (Boparai), for a while now, and I’ve played with some of them with Abby United.”

Muter, a 6-foot centre back from Surrey, won a provincial U13 championship with Surrey United. He went on to earn a spot with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC residency program (2018-19), and was a long-term member of the B.C. provincial team (2017-21), serving as captain for multiple years.

Brazinha, a 5-9 forward from Port Coquitlam, won a provincial title at the Metro level with Port Coquitlam in 2018, and he helped his current club, Coquitlam Metro Ford, finish second in the BC Soccer Premier League in 2021. He also led his Riverside Rapids squad to a pair of district titles along with a fourth-place finish at high school provincials last year, and was the top goal-scorer at the provincial tournament.

Sayers, a 5-10 midfielder from Surrey, won a U13 championship with Surrey United along with several game MVP awards in the BCSPL. He also excelled with his school squad, the Elgin Park Orcas. Among his career highlights was a pair of summer trips to Croatia (in 2015 and 2016) to train with the Dinamo Zagreb academy team.

Bajwa, a 5-11 winger from Surrey, spent the entirety of his club soccer years with Surrey United, winning the U13 provincial crown. He’s also suited up for the Fleetwood Park senior boys soccer team since Grade 9, and is a two-time athlete of the year award winner.

Mackie, a 6-foot fullback from Surrey, spent the past six seasons playing for Surrey United, earning MVP honours in the BCSPL championship game in 2017. He also boasts a multisport pedigree, having played ball hockey at a high level. Mackie won a national championship with Team B.C. in 2019, and was MVP of the gold medal game.

The men’s soccer team is coming off its second Canada West Final Four appearance in the the past three seasons and return to regular season action in September.

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