UNBC men's soccer team adds goalie to the fold

A regulation soccer net is eight yards wide and eight feet tall.

For those more metrically-inclined, that's 7.32 metres by 2.32 metres, and if you're a goalie trying to keep the ball out of that cage, it helps to be big.

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At six-foot-two, 180 pounds, goalie Daniel Zadravec is bigger than most, and the latest recruit of the UNBC Timberwolves has proven adept at getting his lanky limbs in the way of soccer balls playing club soccer in Victoria for the Vancouver Island Wave and with his Reynolds secondary school team.

The Victoria native is an honour-roll student and three-time winner of the Reynolds Centre for Soccer Excellence dedication award and he's coming to UNBC this summer to begin a five-year commitment to the T-wolves, the team announced Wednesday.

"I think I will bring a strong, technical shot-stopper and cross-taker, as well as a presence in the back," said Zadravec, in a team release. "I am looking forward to being pushed by the team. I think the biggest challenge will be the speed and skill, but I look forward to that challenge.

"I have been playing soccer since I was five years old. I've always loved the game. The excitement and thrill of it. I look forward to continuing that love at UNBC."

Zadravec, 17, coaches and officiates youth soccer and is one of the youngest Premier Division goalies in the Vancouver Island Soccer League. T-wolves head coach Steve Simonson is looking forward to grooming him over the next few years to play as a regular in the Canada West conference as the T-wolves continue to make strides with their U Sports soccer program. The T-wolves were left with two vacancies in the keeper position when veterans Ty Venhola and Mitch MacFarlane reached their fifth years of eligibility last season.

"We are extremely happy to add a young goalkeeper of Daniel's calibre," said Simonson. "I believe this commitment helps solidify our goalkeeping situation for years to come. His time in the VISL will certainly help in his transition to the Canada West level."

Frank Woods, his Vancouver Island Wave coach, also coaches Zadravec at Reynolds and he says the T-wolves are getting a good one.

"Danny is an exceptional keeper with a real passion for the game," said Woods. "He works very hard in training to improve and is now a very dependable, quality keeper. I would have him on my team anytime as he is also a fine young man."

The T-wolves were training indoors at the Northern Sport Centre when Zadravec visited the UNBC campus on a winter fly-in. He made up his mind to come to UNBC to study business administration soon after he met the players and toured the facilities.

"I've had the opportunity to visit the school, and train with the team and coach Steve," he said. "I have heard excellent things from many people, and I am very excited to play under him next year. The team is a bunch of great guys, and I am looking forward to it.

"I am looking forward to attending UNBC next year. It is a nice-sized school and it has an excellent business program, which is what I was trying to find."

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