Surrey recruits bolster UFV men’s soccer squad

Head coach Tom Lowndes adds a forward, midfielder and defender to the Cascades roster.

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer program has rounded out its 2018 recruiting class, signing a pair of local high schoolers and one transfer student.

Midfielder Rajan Bains joins the Cascades after spending one year redshirting with the UBC Thunderbirds while defender Sahib Sidhu and forward Mikael Mainella begin their post-secondary careers at UFV.

The trio brings head coach Tom Lowndes’s 2018 recruiting haul to 11 players, joining two previously announced groups of signees.

Bains (Surrey) is a five-foot-11 midfielder who won five provincial championships and a national title with Surrey United, and was part of Team B.C. for the 2017 Canada Summer Games. After graduating from North Surrey Secondary last year, he spent the 2017-18 season with the UBC Thunderbirds.

“Rajan is a top recruit, and we were actively recruiting him before he went to UBC,” Lowndes said. “He’s a top-class midfielder with a great range of passing and fantastic vision, and he’s a defensive pillar. We’re really happy he’s joining us.”

Sidhu (Surrey) is a six-foot-three centre back who enjoyed an outstanding youth soccer career, highlighted by a 2014 campaign which saw him notch a goal and an assist in the provincial final to help his Surrey United side earn a trip to the national championships, where they finished second. He also helped his club squad to second-place provincial finishes in 2016 and 2017.

On the high school side, Sidhu captained his Fleetwood Park Dragons to top-10 provincial finishes each of the past two seasons. He also helped Fleetwood Park’s junior boys basketball team to a provincial championship berth in 2014, and won multiple team MVP and leadership awards at school.

“He’s a big, powerful, strong defender,” Lowndes said of Sidhu. “He leads the backline very well, he’s dominant through the air, and can start attacks from the back. Physically, I think he’s ready to come in and compete for playing time right away. I’m excited to see how he adjusts to U SPORTS soccer.”

Mikael Mainella (Surrey) is a six-foot-one forward who was the Metro U-18 player of the year in 2017-18, and won a B.C. Soccer Premier League title during his youth soccer days with Surrey United.

Mainella’s elite athleticism is underscored by the fact he also excelled in track and field. He won a B.C. Junior Development award for track and field three years in a row and competed in the 200-metre hurdles at the 2014 BC Summer Games.

“Mikael is going to give us some much-needed depth in our forwards,” Lowndes said. “He’s a big strong lad who holds the ball up really well, gets to good areas and looks to finish. We’re happy to have him come in and challenge our forwards for some playing time.”

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