LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western’s Elijah Adekugbe (Calgary) was named a Canada West First Team All-Star Thursday, ahead of this weekend’s Canada West Men’s Soccer Final Four at Foote Field in Edmonton.
The third-year midfielder led the Spartans with six goals and six assists in 15 games. He also had two game-winning goals, helping TWU to a 9-5-2 regular season record and a second place finish in the Pacific Division.
This is Adekugbe’s first Canada West all-star nod. The last time TWU’s men’s soccer team had a first team all-star was in 2012, when five-time conference all-star Brayden Gant (Maple Ridge, B.C.) was named to the top team.
As for the Canada West awards, it was Alberta’s scoring star Ajeej Sarkaria earning the top honour as he was named the 2016 Canada West Men’s Soccer Player of the Year.
Sarkaria was named as the conference’s top player Thursday, ahead of this weekend’s Canada West Men’s Soccer Final Four at Foote Field in Edmonton.
The first-year Golden Bear set the conference single-season scoring record with 19 tallies this season, leading the Bears to a 13-1-2 regular season mark – the best in the conference.
Joining Sarkaria as a major award winner from Alberta is 33-year veteran Len Vickery as Coach of the Year.
The win marks Vickery’s third Canada West Coach of the Year award after previously winning in 1993 and 2006.
The 2016 Canada West Rookie of the Year is Bori Falaye from the Calgary Dinos. Falaye, a product of the Calgary Southwest United program, finished third in conference scoring with seven goals and five assists.
He is just the second Dino to win the conference award, after JP Khouri won it back in 1997.
Rounding out the major award winners is Lethbridge’s Cormac Southam, who is the Student-Athlete Community Service Award winner.
The two-time Academic All-Canadian's work includes tutoring first-year university students, coaching youth soccer, along with serving on the university’s student-athlete advisory committee.
All conference major awards were selected by the 14 Canada West men’s soccer head coaches.
Also honoured were the Bears and Victoria Vikes as the conference’s Fair Play Award co-recipients, by virtue of having tied for the best sportsmanship record during the regular season.
The 2016 Canada West Men’s Soccer Final Four opens Saturday, November 5 with semifinal action, before the medal round on Sunday.
You can watch the full tournament by visiting www.CanadaWest.tv.
AJEEJ SARKARIA – Player of the Year
Alberta Golden Bears
Ajeej Sarkaria, the record-setting striker for the second-ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears soccer team, is the 2016-17 Canada West Player of the Year.
The first-year Golden Bear scored a single-season conference record 19 goals in 16 games, while also adding six assists to set a new single-season Canada West record in points as well, with 25.
Sarkaria was actually held off the scoresheet just five times in conference play this season, including the first two games of the season, both in August. He then proceeded to tally 14 goals and 18 points in just seven games during the month of September. October saw him register another five goals and seven points to break the Canada West single season goals (15) and points (21) records, which were established in 2015 and 2012 respectively.
The Edmonton product also led CIS men’s soccer in goals and assists as well.
“Ajeej has had a phenomenal year leading the Golden Bears attack. The team has been the major benefactor of Ajeej's outstanding season, and his goals have helped propel our team to a first place finish in Canada West with a 14-1-2 record,” said Bears coach Len Vickery. “As most coaches would attest a goal scorer in form is an absolute tonic for any team's attacking play, and Ajeej has had that kind of impact this season.”
BORI FALAYE – Rookie of the Year
Rookie Bori Falaye began his U Sports career with the Dinos this season and made an immediate impact on offence. The Engineering major ranked third in the conference in scoring, netting seven goals and adding five assists for 12 points. Despite being plagued by injury midway through October, he returned to score two goals in the Dinos’ quarter-final win over Fraser Valley to propel them to the Canada West Final Four for the first time since 2010.
Falaye becomes just the second Dino to be named Canada West Rookie of the Year. J.P. Khouri earned the award back in 1997.
“He’s an amazing athlete. He has all the abilities and attributes that a coach would look for in a young footballer,” said Calgary head coach Brendan O’Connell. “He has a tight touch, he has space and time making skills, he has quick feet, and he has distributions skills and dribbling skills. He was accepted straight away into the team and he works hard. He’s a very humble guy, but he’s loud in what he does on field.”
LEN VICKERY – Coach of the Year
Alberta Golden Bears
Long-standing University of Alberta Golden Bears soccer head coach Len Vickery has been chosen by his peers as the 2016-17 Canada West Coach of the Year. Vickery, a veteran of 33 years along the Alberta sideline, guided the Golden Bears to a Canada West best 13-1-2 regular season record, as well as a hosting rights for the conference Final Four championship.
The Golden Bears only lost one game all conference season, which came after they had clinched first place overall in the conference. Alberta scored the second most goals in conference play, with 30, and gave up the second fewest as well, with only 14 slipping past in 16 games.
This win represents the third time the U of A coach has won the award, following triumphs in 1993 and 2006.
“Len Vickery is synonymous with elite soccer in Edmonton, Alberta and throughout Canada West and CIS,” said Alberta athletic director Ian Reade. “What he has accomplished this season, and continues to accomplish after over 30 years of coaching is remarkable. He still has the same passion, drive and desire to be the best, which is why his fellow coaches have recognized him this season. His outstanding work at the helm of the Golden Bears program this season deserves recognition, and Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics is very proud of him, and happy to see him honoured by his fellow Canada West coaches.”
CORMAC SOUTHAM – Student-Athlete Community Service Award
Third-year Lethbridge Pronghorn defender Cormac Southam has been named the 2016 Student-Athlete Community Service Award winner.
The pre-med student, who is a two-time Academic All-Canadian, finds time to tutor and mentor first-year players, as well as to other students at the University. An excellent student, his cumulative GPA is 3.85.
In addition, Cormac is heavily involved in assisting youth soccer programs in Lethbridge, serving as a coach in the parent and tot program as well as the house league tech program.
Cormac is the men’s soccer representative on the university’s student-athlete advisory committee, which assists in promoting initiatives for athletics in our community. Cormac is also a big part of the men’s soccer team’s leadership group and actively participates in the team’s Right to Play initiative and the Pronghorns yearly designated driver program, Operation Red Nose.
“Cormac is an outstanding individual who is driven to be a role model for members of our team and people in our athletic program, school and local community,” said head coach Randy Bardock. “He is the first person to offer his support for ideas and initiatives that can assist others.”
2016 Canada West Men’s Soccer First Team All-Stars
Position / Name / School / Year / Hometown / Program
GK / Mitch McCaw / UBCO / 4 / Calgary, AB / Management
DEF / Bryan Fong / UBC / 5 / Vancouver, BC / Kinesiology
DEF / Niko Saler / Alberta / 5 / Lethbridge, AB / Graduate Studies & Research
DEF / Dominick Zator / Calgary / 5 / Calgary, AB / Business
DEF / Tammer Byrne / Fraser Valley / 3 / Abbotsford, BC / Kinesiology
DEF / Tyler Mertens / UBC / 5 / Port Coquitlam, BC / Business
OFF / Dominic Russo / Calgary / 5 / Calgary, AB / Arts & Business
OFF / Ajeej Sarkaria / Alberta / 1 / Edmonton, AB / Arts
OFF / Titouan Chopin / UBC / 2 / Kaslo, BC / Arts
OFF / Elijah Adekugbe / Trinity Western / 3 / Calgary, AB / Business Administration
OFF / Ryan Glanville / Thompson Rivers / 4 / Williams Lake, BC / MBA
2016 Canada West Men’s Soccer Second Team All-Stars
Position / Name / School / Year / Hometown / Program
GK / Connor James / Alberta / 3 / Edmonton, AB / Business
DEF / Bruno Zebie / Alberta / 2 / Paris, France / Physical Education & Recreation
DEF / Tyrin Hutchings / Mount Royal / 5 / Calgary, AB / Arts
DEF / Noah Cunningham / Alberta / 1 / St. Albert, AB / Education
DEF / Jacob Powell / Saskatchewan / 2/ Vancouver, BC / Business
DEF / Gordon Hall / UNBC / 3 / Chilliwack, BC / Forest Ecology & Management
OFF / Cody Cook / Mount Royal / 5 / Cranbrook, BC / Business Administration
OFF / Bori Falaye / Calgary / 1 / Calgary, AB / Engineering
OFF / Daniel Davidson / Fraser Valley / 3 / Abbotsford, BC / Criminology
OFF / Chris Rushworth / Lethbridge / 5 / Cranbrook, BC / Management
OFF / Mitch Bauche / Saskatchewan / 5 / Saskatoon, SK / Engineering
About Canada West
Canada West is the premier athletic conference in the country and is home to champion student-athletes that excel on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. Canada West and its 17 member institutions commit to a student-athlete experience where competitive excellence, scholarship and sportsmanship contribute equally towards moulding outstanding graduates and community leaders.
Canada West – Training leaders, building champions.