WSA Winnipeg’s Caelan Budhoo saw his dramatic journey to the U-Sports Men’s Soccer championship end with a shootout victory and a national title. The Cape Breton Capers capped off an unbeaten season with the 3-2 win over the Montreal Carabins in Kamloops, BC.
“When our keeper saved the final penalty in the shootout, I felt relief more than anything,” Budhoo said. “(It was) the feeling that everything you sacrificed has finally paid off with a national title under my belt.”
The creative midfielder scored a goal, added an assist and picked up a man of the match award on the way to being named a tournament all-star.
A versatile player, Budhoo made 13 PDL appearances for the Wolfpack in 2017, primarily as a defender. He returned to his regular midfield position in Cape Breton, playing in 11 regular season games with a goal and four assists.
“Playing in the PDL and training with Eduardo in the summer brought me to the level of play I needed to be at to succeed at the university level,” Budhoo said. “Things like fitness and my touches were where they needed to be for when I arrived at Cape Breton.”
That PDL connection also led to an interesting journey to the national title. Up against the Capers in their AUS conference title game were the University of New Brunswick, led by WSA goalkeeper Evan Barker.
“My favourite games are the ones against Evan because it brings back the joy I had when I used to score on him in training or at the park,” Budhoo said.
“I never got to score on him in a real game to be fair, but it’s always nice seeing a hometown friend when you’re far away from home. He’s been doing an amazing job at UNB. I’m proud to be his teammate.”
In an effort to defend the national championship, Budhoo intends to return to WSA Winnipeg for the 2018 PDL season. The Premier Development League is the top choice for University Soccer players in North America during their off-season.