Category: News

WSA Winnipeg gears up for season opener

WSA Winnipeg kicks off the 2017 PDL season on the road Saturday night against the Des Moines Menace, looking to improve on a rough 2016 season.

The Wolfpack finished 1-11-2 in 2016, as a young roster battled injuries and showed late in the season they could compete with any team in the Heartland Division, tying their final two games.

“Last year we were missing key players early in the season and this year everyone was able to make the trip,” Head coach Eduardo Badescu said. “We also had several players that had not played university soccer and come back to us with a year of experience.”

A clean bill of health from 2016 Manitoba player of the year Kyle Hiebert means the team’s on-field leader will man the backline. Injuries limited Hiebert to just 8 appearances in 2016.

Hiebert (Missouri State University),  is one of three players on the team with NCAA experience — joined by veteran midfielder Ivan Borka (Drury University) and rookie forward Daniel Sagno (San Diego State University).

Defender Tom Prazak(University of Winnipeg), midfielder Raphael Ohin and forward Tobias Hyrich-Krueger (University of  Winnipeg) are all looking to build off strong showings in 2016.

“We have some great options in our team heading into the season and everyone will get an opportunity as we play several games in a short span,” Badescu said.

Winnipeg opens the season with five road matches over the next week with games against the St. Louis Lions on May 21, St. Louis FC U23 on May 23 and May 24 and Chicago FC United on May 26.

The WSA – Des Moines game will be broadcast live on the Central Iowa Sports Network starting at 7:30 p.m.

Final cuts made: 

The roster was rounded out heading into the season-opening road trip with some familiar faces and new blood joining the team.

Defender Belmin Mackic returns after an impressive rookie campaign where he made 9 appearances and scored a goal. The 18-year-old defender held his own playing against much more experienced opposition.

Midfielder Ermin Mackic, twin brother of Belmin, joins the team after injuries kept him out in 2016.

Midfielder Stephan Melo returns to WSA Winnipeg after playing for Woodbridge Strikers in League One Ontario for the 2016 season. He last played for Winnipeg in 2015 and brings added PDL experience to the squad.

Forwards Oluwasegun Akinshipe and Louis Melendez will help bolster the Wolfpack attack. Akinshipe played for the University of Winnipeg last fall while Melendez hails from El Salvador.

Goalkeeper Joshua Dielmann will complete the goaltending duo with University of New Brunswick standout Evan Barker. Dielmann plays for the University of Winnipeg and at 6’5 brings an imposing presence between the posts.

Daniel Sagno joins WSA Winnipeg for 2017 season

WSA Winnipeg is bolstering its attack with the addition of Daniel Sagno, a local product from San Diego State University.

“I hope to play an important role and maybe score some goals,” said Sagno, a Canadian youth international and product of the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency.

The speedy forward is coming off his freshman season in the NCAA at San Diego State.  Sagno made 13 appearances in 2016, starting 6 times and tallying an assist.

“Daniel was one of three players from Winnipeg to move from the Whitecaps to NCAA last year and while he will be a late addition, he comes to us with glowing recommendations, ” said WSA Winnipeg head coach Eduardo Badescu.

Sagno will join the team just in time for the beginning of the 2017 PDL season on May 20th, when Winnipeg visits the Des Moines Menace.

“Many of us have played with each other at some point in our careers so the chemistry will definitely be there,” Sagno said. “Everyone is filled with confidence and I know we will compete every game.”

Nationality
can Canada
Position
Forward
Height
5'7
Last Team
San Diego State University
Age
19

 

Veteran midfielders Silva and Ohin return for 2017

WSA Winnipeg’s midfield retains some leadership from 2016 with the returns of Braden Silva and Raphael Ohin.

Ohin, a native of Ghana, is coming off a rookie PDL season that led to a trial with Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC.

“Moving to WSA Winnipeg has been a huge step forward in my life,” Ohin said, now calling Winnipeg home. “My goal is to play professional so I’m working hard and trying to improve more on my skills.”

Ohin was an integral part of the midfield in 2016, scoring one goal in nine games.

“We were very lucky that Raphael came to us last season,” WSA Winnipeg head coach Eduardo Badescu said. “He has the physical and technical abilities of a pro and sets an example for the rest of the team.”

Ohin was one of several players making their PDL debuts in 2016. With all of them a year older with the experience under their belt, he expects big things.

“This year is different and I have confidence in the guys and I believe we gonna have a pretty good season.”

Nationality
gha Ghana
Position
Midfielder
Height
5'6
Age
22

For Silva, the longtime WSA Winnipeg member is hoping to turn pro at the end of the 2017 season.

“I will be training with teams in Portugal and after that some combines and tryouts,” he said.

A former Canadian youth player and graduate of the University of Winnipeg, Silva made 12 appearances in 2016 and adds a veteran presence to the midfield line.

“Braden is a player I always trust on the field,” head Coach Eduardo Badescu said. “His game intelligence makes up for his size and allows him to take on players much bigger with success.”

Like Ohin, Silva represents a core group of players returning from last season, and early in pre-season is seeing signs of better things to come in 2017.

“I expect more results this year,” he said. ” The rookies last year now have more experience and come back more prepared.”

WSA Winnipeg opens the season May 20 on the road against the Des Moines Menace.

Nationality
can Canada
Position
Midfielder
Height
5'4
Last Team
University of Winnipeg
Age
21

Caelan Budhoo ready for 2017 PDL Season

Fresh off a national tournament run with Cape Breton University, Caelan Budhoo will return to WSA Winnipeg for the PDL season.

“Our team found success winning the Atlantic Division and placed 4th overall in Canada, I hope I can bring that winning experience over to the PDL,” Budhoo said.

The 20-year-old midfielder is coming off his first university season after trials with professional teams in Spain. In 11 games with the Capers he scored twice and added an assist as his team went on to win the Atlantic University Conference title.

“Caelan’s technical ability makes him a versatile player that can be effective anywhere on the field,” Head coach Eduardo Badescu said.

So far in pre-season, Budhoo has been working on transitioning into a fullback. Typically used as a central midfielder, he is looking to add another tool to his game.

“It’s similar to winger, which I grew up playing so I have the physical and technical abilities,” Budhoo said. “It’s a matter of getting the defensive tactical stuff figured out.”

Injuries limited Budhoo’s use in 2016, playing in 4 games during the PDL season. With the 2017 roster full of returnees and players with top tier university experience, Budhoo thinks the team will dramatically improve on the 1-11-2 campaign.

“Almost all of our players have at least a year in the PDL so we know the standard.”

WSA Winnipeg opens the season May 20 in Des Moines. The home opener is June 3 against Thunder Bay.

Nationality
can Canada
Position
Defender
Height
5'10
Last Team
Cape Breton University
Age
21

AUS Rookie of the Year Evan Barker Returns to WSA Winnipeg

After a phenomenal first season at the University of New Brunswick, Evan Barker will return to WSA Winnipeg for the 2017 PDL season.

The freshman goalkeeper was named Atlantic University Sport’s Rookie of the Year while also being named 1st Team All-Conference and 2nd Team All-Canadian.

“This past year has had a major impact on my confidence,” Barker said. “I am hoping this trend will carry over into the upcoming PDL season.”

Barker led all AUS keepers in wins with six on the season and allowed just three goals against. With 40 saves, he recorded a save percentage of .930 and a conference-best nine shutouts.

It will be his second season with WSA Winnipeg. Barker split the goaltending duties with Josh Pataker in 2016 and led the team with 42 saves in 7 starts.

“Evan had a great year out east and we will be putting a lot of trust in him this season,” head coach Eduardo Badescu said. “He is a strong shot stopper who possesses a combination of size and agility in the net.”

WSA Winnipeg has begun training camp for the 2017 season and more player signings will be announced in the lead-up to the season opener on May 20th in Des Moines.

“I don’t think that pushing for a playoff spot is too far out of our sights this season,” Barker said. “As long as we push each other every day I can see is good results coming our way.” 

Nationality
can Canada
Position
Goalkeeper
Height
6'5
Last Team
University of New Brunswick
Age
20

 

USL Scouting Network Raises Standards, Reach

Ahead of the 23rd season of the Premier Development League, the USL Scouting Network has improved and expanded its talent evaluation reach across North America heading into the new season.

A total of 22 scouts, including coaching directors, technical directors, and head coaches, will provide the PDL with exclusive insight on top performers in the league this summer. This will serve as a valuable resource for professional clubs as they look to add high-caliber players to their rosters.

“Outside of the strategic growth of the network in targeted markets across the divisions, the PDL has aligned its scouting terminology, player profile and overall identification process with the U.S. Soccer Federation’s,” USL Vice President of Competition & Technical Development Gordon Bengtson said. “This was done in an effort to standardize our method and ensure that our talent evaluators are on the same page throughout the season.”

Read more here.

Ivan Borka returns to WSA Winnipeg

After sitting out the 2016 PDL season, Ivan Borka is returning to WSA Winnipeg in 2017.

“I am buzzing to make a comeback and make up what I missed last year due to injury,” said Borka. “As one of the youngest teams in the league, I think our first objective is to recognize our strengths and use them to our advantage.”

The 23-year-old adds a veteran presence to what will be a young team. The 6’1 Drury University product adds size and experience from both the NCAA and the PDL, a league made up of teams loaded with top university talent.

“Ivan possesses a combination of size, speed and technical ability,” said WSA Winnipeg head coach Eduardo Badescu. “He was missed last season and we are happy to have him back.”

Able to play both midfield and forward, Borka enters the summer after a senior year at Drury University. In 17 games he scored one goal and added an assist.

“After being sidelined for a year due to a stress fracture in my lower back, I was more eager than ever to come back as a better player and make an impact on the team,” said Borka.

This will be Borka’s 3rd season with WSA Winnipeg, and he is hoping his strong showing in the States can carry over into the PDL.

“There is a lot of potential across the board and I want to help them reach their best level of play too.”

Borka’s signing follows commitments from Missouri State University product Kyle Hiebert and six players from the University of Winnipeg.

Nationality
can Canada
Position
Midfielder
Height
6'1
Last Team
Drury University
Age
23

 

WSA Winnipeg signs 6 players from University of Winnipeg

WSA Winnipeg is happy to be continuing its partnership with the University of Winnipeg by signing six players from the school’s 2016 team.

Jash Sangha, Tom Prazak, Kevin Garic, Tobias Hyrich-Krueger and William Brown are all returning players from the 2016 PDL season. Evan Van Dale will play with WSA Winnipeg for the first time.

In every season since the club’s inception,  numerous players from the Wesmen play for WSA Winnipeg during their summer season. The PDL connects local players with the highest level of competition available to them while at university.

Jash Sangha: 

A midfielder, Sangha was 16 years old when he made his debut in the Canadian youth program in 2013 with coach Robert Gale. He joined WSA Winnipeg in 2014 and played in 5 games in 2016 during an injury-shortened season.

“Jash is a quiet leader and very intelligent player,” said WSA Winnipeg head coach Eduardo Badescu.

Sangha played in 16 games for the University of Winnipeg in 2016, starting 14 of them.

Nationality
can Canada
Position
Midfielder
Height
5'7
Last Team
University of Winnipeg
Age
18

Kevin Garic:

Garic is returning for his second season with WSA Winnipeg in 2017. The young central defender played in two games in the PDL last season.

“Kevin is a calm player with the ball at his feet,” said Badescu.

Garic added a goal in 14 appearances for the  University of Winnipeg as a freshman. He is hoping to be a more important player in his second PDL campaign.

“You have to be in top shape to compete (in the PDL),” said Garic. “Hopefully we can make the playoffs and show we can compete at this level.”

Nationality
can Canada
Position
Defender
Height
6'1
Last Team
University of Winnipeg
Age
19

William Brown:

A product of the prestigious Shattuck St.Mary’s high school program, Brown was a late edition to WSA Winnipeg in 2016 and is back for 2017.

He scored the lone goal in Winnipeg’s 1-0 win over Chicago.

“Will’s greatest asset is his speed,” said head coach Eduardo Badescu. “He also hates losing more than any player I have seen which gives him a noticeable determination.”

The young forward scored twice in his first year at the University of Winnipeg, adding an assist in 12 games.

Nationality
can Canada
Position
Forward
Last Team
Shattuck-Saint Mary’s
Age
18

Evan Van Dale: 

Van Dale will make his PDL debut for WSA Winnipeg in 2017, but the 21-year-old defender adds experience on the backline.

“Evan succeeds because of hard work,” said Badescu. “We are happy he has decided to join us because he can set an example with his work ethic.”

A 4th year player for the Wesmen, Van Dale started in all 5 games he played in before an injury set him back in 2016. The connection between the University and WSA Winnipeg caught his attention, as he has seen players come through the university over his time there.

“I have seen my teammates become faster and smarter,” said Van Dale. “My goal is to earn a spot on this team and show what Winnipeg has to offer.”

Nationality
can Canada
Position
Defender
Height
5'9
Last Team
University of Winnipeg
Age
22

Tom Prazak: 

Prazak is a long time member of WSA Winnipeg, joining as a 16-year-old and returning for a third PDL season. The 6’4 centre-back played in 6 games in 2016 and formed a formidable duo with captain Kyle Hiebert when on the field together.

“Tom has great size but his aggressiveness makes him even tougher to avoid,” said head coach Eduardo Badescu.

A freshman at the University of Winnipeg, Prazak already had two years in the PDL under his belt, playing with and against some of the top collegiate athletes in North America.

“Playing for WSA Winnipeg made the transition to university soccer easier,” said Prazak. “You can’t find the speed and quality of the game anywhere else in Manitoba.”

Prazak played in 10 games for the Wesmen, starting nine of them.

Nationality
can Canada
Position
Defender
Height
6'4
Last Team
University of Winnipeg
Age
19

Tobias Hyrich Krueger:

Tied with Moses Danto for the lead in goals in 2016, Hyrich-Krueger will be a key part of WSA Winnipeg’s offense in 2017.

“Tobias may be the fastest player I have ever coached,” said head coach Eduardo Badescu. “He is a fierce competitor and a handful in one-on-one situations.”

The speedy winger has experience with pro teams in Spain to go with his first season at the University of Winnipeg, starting in 10 games.

Nationality
can Canada
Position
Forward
Height
5'7
Last Team
Mar Menor CF (Spain), University of Winnipeg
Age
19

Today’s signings join returnee Kyle Hiebert from Missouri State University. WSA Winnipeg expects to announce more signings in the coming weeks.

Kyle Hiebert Returns for 5th Season With WSA Winnipeg

WSA Winnipeg is pleased to announce that Missouri State University defender Kyle Hiebert will return for the 2017 PDL season.

“Playing back home gives me the opportunity to play with guys I have played with for over ten years,” said Hiebert. “It also allows me to be home with my family as I’m away at university for most of the year. ”

Hiebert joined the World Soccer Academy at the age of 10, before making his debut in the PDL at the age of 15. He has played every season since, captaining the team in 2016. For his play this past year he was named the Manitoba Soccer Association’s Male Player of the Year for 2016.

“Joining at a young age really helped me to progress well as a player as I was able to play with players who were bigger and faster than me all the time.”

Since 2015, Hiebert is also a member of Missouri State University, though injuries have limited his appearances. The PDL is the top choice for college players to stay in shape in the off-season and develop in the best possible environment.

On a team mainly comprised of local products, Hiebert is able to offer the extra experience from his time playing across the border.

“Kyle is our ‘Minister of Defence’ and makes a difference when we are able to have him on the field,” said WSA Winnipeg head coach Eduardo Badescu. “He is a terrific athlete with solid technical skills and a leader who demonstrates the principles of fair play and sportsmanship.”

WSA Winnipeg is looking forward to revealing more recruitment announcements in the coming weeks as the season begins to fast approach.

Nationality
can Canada
Position
Defender
Height
5'11
Last Team
Missouri State University
Age
20

Kyle Hiebert named MSA’s top men’s player of 2016

WSA Winnipeg defender Kyle Hiebert was among the winners of at the Manitoba Soccer Association awards reception.

Hiebert was awarded the Frank Capasso Award of Merit as the most outstanding men’s player in 2016.

A 4th-year member of WSA Winnipeg in 2016, Hiebert made 8 appearances in the Premier Development League, captaining the wolfpack on each occasion.

The 19-year-old central defender also plays for Missouri State University in the NCAA and is a former member of the Canadian U-18 National Team.