KELOWNA, BC - Wyatt Gilbert, a 6’2” Winger in his senior year at Brookswood Secondary School in Langley, B.C, is the next addition to the UBC Okangan Heat soccer men’s side for the upcoming 2016/17 season.
“I expect to play an attacking role at UBCO whether it be striker, attacking mid, or the wings. I have been playing on the wing since U13,” said Wyatt of what he thinks his role on the field will be next year. His Brookswood team won the Fraser Valley’s tournament, and they made the Provincial tournament his year, though Wyatt was unable to participate as he had suffered a broken foot.
Wyatt is currently playing primarily with Surrey United’s 17U squad, in the British Columbia Soccer Premier League, a team with whom he’s played for most of his high school career. In five games this season with the United side, Gilbert recorded two goals and three assists, for an impressive point-a-game average for his current season stat-line.
Through his play with Surrey United, Wyatt has had an opportunity to play in the National tournament, which should be a big advantage in terms of dealing with the much higher level of competition that he’ll be facing once he becomes a member of the Heat. Outside of his regular club play, Gilbert was named to the Provincial Team’s 16u squad, with which he was a part of a high-level tournament at UBC in Vancouver.
Wyatt says that he chose UBC Okanagan’s soccer program in part because of Heat head coach Dante Zanatta. “He’s my style of coach,” says Wyatt, “he knows when to push his guys, and understands how to get the best out of what he’s got.”
The two were first introduced at a Whitecaps showcase in Vancouver, and shortly after at an evaluation camp held by coach Zanatta at UBC Okanagan. Having been to the campus twice, Wyatt felt that it was a good fit. “I like the small campus, and the program is a tight knit group, I can tell that it will be a good place for me to be.”
2016-17 will be coach Zanatta’s sixth with the program and he is pleased with the addition of Gilbert, a player he feels can be a successful attacking player for UBC Okanagan in the future after charting his development for the past three years. “Each year he has improved his game, as an attacking player, a position that we need to get better at, I believe that he has the tools to have a very good CIS player.”
Breaking down his recruit Zanatta explains that “Wyatt has good speed, comfortable on the ball, a nose for the net and has the determination to be better each time he steps on the pitch which is crucial for a players development and we hope to help him on his journey.”
As to what he feels he’ll be able to bring to the Heat next season, Wyatt sees himself as a player who will improve the team’s speed up front, and will be able to add a good deep-ball run to the system. “I’m pretty fast,” added Gilbert, “My strengths as a player are my pace, striking, corner/free kicks, ability to get by defenders, and my ability to get the ball into dangerous areas. I'm effective in my position because of my creativity in the offensive third and also being reliable in my defensive efforts. I hope to bring a hard-working attitude and be someone my teammates and coach can rely on in any situation.”
The future UBC Okanagan student-athlete also feels that the academic side will be a good for him. “Ideally I’d like to get my Bachelor of Science degree; I plan on going into microbiology.” Showing his maturity and understanding of the reality of academics, he has also applied to go into Applied Sciences as his second choice. Wyatt continued, “My long term academic goal is to get into med school and see what interest me from there. I am looking to get an enjoyable experience where I meet lots of new people while getting the best education in BC.”