Print Edition: June 19, 2013
While many students crossing the stage last Thursday and Friday were thinking about their careers as a result of their graduation, one student is already following his passion on the soccer pitch.
Midfielder Sasa Plavsic has played for the UFV Cascades’ soccer squad for the duration of his four years at UFV and led the team in scoring for the last three.
His career with UFV may be over, but he is far from done with the sport. Plavsic was named, along with the Cascades’ 2011-12 rookie of the year, Colton O’Neill, to the Vancouver Whitecaps Premier Development League (PDL) club.
Playing for the Whitecaps marks Plavsic’s third experience at the PDL level, but says there is more to be said for the Major League Soccer (MLS) club affiliate.
“It’s great to play here and be surrounded by so many like-minded players and have such a good coaching staff,” Plavsic said, adding that the Whitecaps organization is, “much more professional [with] higher expectations.”
Plavsic and O’Neill, on the UFV Cascades, compete at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) level of play during their September to November season; the Whitecaps PDL competes in the United Soccer League (USL). The league is comprised of 65 teams across Canada and the United States with the Whitecaps PDL competing in the Western Conference, Northwest Division. It is the top developmental men’s league in North America.
Credit for getting these UFV players noticed goes in part to the Cascades’ varsity men’s soccer coach, Alan Errington who recommended both players to the Whitecaps club scouts. From there, Plavsic explained, the decision was made based on a series of trials.
In an interview with UFV Cascades’ sports information and marketing coordinator David Kent, Errington shared his pride at having two of his players picked for the Whitecaps PDL club.
“I am very proud of both Sasa and Colton. They will have a great experience under Stuart (Neely, Whitecaps PDL head coach) this summer,” he commented. “The PDL is a great level of play for CIS student-athletes to improve their skills and be in top physical condition for the fall.”
Plavsic noted the differences between the CIS level of competition and the USL level.
“I think the level is much higher and there is more parity in the league. Anyone can beat anyone on a given day,” he said.
Plavsic aspires to continue to move up in the sport, but remains focused on the task at hand.
“For now I am focused on performing here and making the playoffs,” he said, adding that he’s not sure where his future may go at this point, but soccer is definitely a part of it.
The Whitecaps PDL season runs from May into July with their home field being Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver. Games are Friday nights or Sunday afternoons and admission is free.