KELOWNA, BC -- Vancouver Island’s Christian Taylor is the most recent recruit for the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s soccer program’s 2016-17 season.
The Comox Valley midfielder brings with him a long career of soccer experience. Taylor is currently the captain of the Upper Island Riptide U18 team of the Vancouver Island Premier League, and served as captain in his fifth and final season with his high school team, the Mark Isfeld Ice, leading them to their second consecutive berth in the provincial tournament.
The 5’11” centre-mid said of the next step in his career, “I hope to be a presence in the midfield next season with the Heat, and be an asset by keeping my composure during matches,” which he states is one of his strengths on the field, “and making key passes throughout the game, while doing my defensive duties for the team.”
Asked about the difficulty of making that transition up to the university level, Christian is not hesitant. “I’m excited and ready to be done with high school, and I feel like university is where I'm meant to be. As for soccer, I'm definitely ready to move up to a more competitive level of soccer and challenge myself at the CIS level.”
He is also confident that UBC Okanagan will be a good fit for him both athletically and academically. “UBC is such a good school academically and I am excited to be able to get my post-secondary education at a school of this quality. The Management program looks like a great combination of academics and practical application.” He continued, “I like the way that coach [Heat men's soccer head Dante] Zanatta coaches and how the team plays. I feel like my style of play matches the team's, so I think it's a good fit.”
"Christian caught our eye at our Island ID camp in December and we brought him in for our spring camp," Zanatta explains on how an upper island soccer player gets noticed by the interior university. "He demonstrated the work rate and skill’s that we are looking for to continue to build the program. As a midfielder he was able to link the play together at both camps something that is vitally important. Christian's work rate is very good and he is not shy about getting involved on the physical side of the game, we look forward in working with him over the next four years and seeing what the future can bring."
With an eye to the future, Taylor is looking to keep his career options open as a student. “I don’t know exactly what I will do after my degree, but I have a mind and ear for entrepreneurship, and helping others. I look forward to seeing what doors open after I graduate from university, whether this is starting my own business, or working for a non-profit somewhere in the world, or joining a strong business that is meeting a need in a community.”
That selflessness seems to be a theme with the newest Heat recruit, as he said of his game, “I score goals, but am more known for assists on my team, always finishing with close to the most on my team each year.” He went on to say, “My strengths in the mid are my tackles, headers, and distribution. I have a passion for soccer that I show every time I play.”
Asked what part of his game he thinks will be the most helpful in taking that next step to play against university level competition, he said, “my composure is a quality that helps me stay relaxed, and it will help me a lot when playing CIS soccer next year.”
Zanatta will add Taylor and his playmaking abilities to a handful or recruits already for next fall. Taylor will be joined by Zachary Rachynski (Forward, Kamloops, BC), Spencer Young (LB, Kelowna, BC), Nicholas Reitsma (GK, Kelowna, BC), and Wyatt Gilbert (Winger, Langley, BC).