The University of the Fraser Valley athletic department is sending its largest-ever contingent to the 2017 Summer Universiade, which runs Aug. 19-30 in Chinese Taipei.
Chilliwack’s Connor MacMillan will suit up for the Canadian men’s soccer entry at the FISU (Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire) event, and two members of the Cascades golf program will join him in Taipei City.
UFV head coach /Chilliwack native Chris Bertram will serve in the same role for the Canadian men’s golf team.
MacMillan wrapped up an outstanding five-year career with the Cascades last fall.
The dynamic midfielder posted 14 goals and seven assists (regular season and playoffs combined) during his time at UFV.
His signature performance came in the 2015 Canada West playoffs when he registered three goals and an assist over three games to spark the Cascades to a conference bronze medal.
MacMillan earned a tryout with Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 in the spring, and he currently plays for the TSS Rovers of the Premier Development League. He’s posted one goal and two assists in five appearances this summer on behalf of the Richmond club.
Canada’s best Universiade finish in men’s soccer is fourth place, achieved in 2007. At the most recent Universiade in 2015, Team Canada went 0-3 and failed to make it past the group stage.
“It means a lot, because I’ve never represented Canada before,” MacMillan said. “To me it was a surprise, and cool to get that email (confirming selection). I’m definitely excited to wear a Canada jersey and play halfway across the world. I’m going to train as hard as I can to be prepared for it.”
This summer’s trip to Chinese Taipei marks Bertram’s third coaching engagement at an FISU event.
He was an assistant coach with the Canadian women’s golf squad at the 2014 World University Championships in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, and served as head coach of the men’s team at the 2015 Summer Universiade in Gwangju, South Korea.
At the latter event, the Bertram-helmed squad finished sixth in the 20-nation field – the best-ever result for Canadian men’s golf at a Universiade.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to go back and represent Canada in such a prestigious event, and I’m also very proud to represent the University of the Fraser Valley and the athletics department,” Bertram said. “I think we have a good chance to contend. The level of play in Canadian university and collegiate golf is at an all-time high, and the players that are choosing to stay and play their university golf in Canada are getting better each year. It’s a world-class field full of NCAA and national team players from around the world at the Universiade, but if we go there and play well, anything is possible.”
The Summer Universiade is an international multi-sport event which takes place every two years.
The 2015 Universiade in South Korea included 12,885 athletes representing 143 nations, competing in 21 sports.