KELOWNA, BC -- The UBC Okanagan Heat men’s soccer program have signed Kamloops forward Zach Rachynski coming into the 2016-17 season.
Rachynski is currently a member of the Kamloops Select U18 rep team, and is coming off of his final season with the Sa-Hali Senior Secondary Sabres soccer program.Zach and his Sabres team played in the provincial finals this past season, earning their second consecutive provincial silver medal.
The Kamloops product has also played for the Thompson-Okanagan Football Club in the BC Soccer Premier League. Rachynski and his Select side have also made the provincial tournament the last two years.
The 6’0” forward has been playing soccer for nearly his entire life, having started when he was five years old. “I’ve been playing soccer since kick ’n’ run,” he said.
“I’ve always been comfortable playing in a more offensive role,” said Rachynski, adding “I look forward to playing wherever [UBC Okanagan] coach [Dante] Zanatta feels I can contribute.”
Through his career before the Heat, Rachynski has proven himself to be an efficient points producer. “I had a good game in city finals, scoring two goals and one assist to win the city championship 3-0. The win helped our seeding at regional playoffs.” Zach added, “between the rep season and high school I had a couple hat-trick games, as well as a good showing in my rep provincial playoffs.” In those playoffs, he tallied six points on five goals and an assists through four games.
Asked what he feels makes him efficient as a forward attacker, Rachynski said, “I try to have speed and good vision on the playing field to see where other players are going to be. I try to make the best possible scoring opportunity for the team, whether that’s me taking a shot or setting up an assist.” Showing himself to be a true team player, he added, “I like a good assist as much as a great goal. I’ve been told that what makes me dangerous is that defenders can’t be quite sure whether I’m going to shoot or pass. I hope to bring this mentality to the UBCO Heat.”
Prior to signing as a Heat recruit, Zach had a little bit of familiarity with the program he would joining. “I came out to the Spring ID camp last year and that was my first time meeting coach Zanatta. As for the team I know two of the new signings this year as I used to play with Nick Reitsma and have played against Spencer Young for many years.”
Heat coach Dante Zanatta noticed the Kamloops product excelling at that spring camp and have kept tabs on the forward. "Zach first attended our camp last year and did well at that camp and we have been tracking him for the past year," says the coach, going into his sixth season. Zanatta describes Zach as "An attacking player with speed, technique and a good soccer IQ we think that Zach will have a bright career at UBCO. Both Tom [Flanagan - assistant coach] and myself were impressed with the work that Zach commits to off the ball and is something that he will have to continue at the next level to be successful."
As for why he chose UBC Okanagan, the academic side played a big part in Zach’s decision as well. He has enrolled in the Bachelor of Management program, and says, “I like that I get a great opportunity to have a UBC business education at a more intimate or closer campus. I will like having a closer relationship to instructors with better class sizes. I think it gives me a better chance to grow.”
As for this long term future, he is keeping an eye to the future. I’m looking to get good career options with my degree. I want to see what I can branch out in and I am excited to have the variety I get after my first two years. I have the chance to find out what I want to specialize in. I really liked the business course I took in high school so it gives me an idea at what I am looking at. I want to make university something to remember and I think UBCO can help me with that.”
Zach has a well-rounded athletic history on top of his soccer accomplishments, having played volleyball, basketball, golf, and hockey previously. That background will certain help athletically, and in that area Rachynski feels he is ready to make the jump to a higher level of competition.
“I know that the leap is going to be a big difference,” he says, “but I have tried my best to stay on top of my skills by playing soccer all year round, staying on top of my fitness and practicing with teams that have that high caliber of play such as the PCL team.
I have also trained with the Whitecaps prospects camp – all has given me an idea of what I am coming up against and [has helped Mentally, he and his current coaches feel that the transition will go well for Zach.
“My current coaches tell me I bring a great work ethic and mind that is always ready to learn more and absorb everything I can. My high school coach has told me I can read a play and react correctly. I am a focused player and I accept the challenge to move to a higher level of soccer.”
The 2016 Heat recruit showed his humility, adding an appreciative statement about his career thus far. “I would just like to thank all of the coaches who have helped me over the years and got me to UBCO. They have always done right by me and I am very grateful to everyone who has pushed me to be a stronger player.”
Zanatta has inked a handful or recruits already for next fall. Rachynski will be joined by Christian Taylor (Midfielder, Comox Valley), Spencer Young (LB, Kelowna, BC), Nicholas Reitsma (GK, Kelowna, BC), and Wyatt Gilbert (Winger, Langley, BC).