Sports

Oduro makes history with WolfPack

Charles Oduro of the Seaton Sonics will play CIS volleyball for the TRU WolfPack this fall. - Lisa Vandervelde/Morning Star
Charles Oduro of the Seaton Sonics will play CIS volleyball for the TRU WolfPack this fall.
— image credit: Lisa Vandervelde/Morning Star

Morning Star Staff

Vernon has proven to be a rich resource for the Kamloops-based Thompson Rivers University WolfPack in the sports of basketball and soccer.

But never men’s volleyball. Until now.

The WolfPack men’s volleyball team and head coach Pat Hennelly are officially welcoming Charles Oduro of W.L. Seaton Secondary to the school and CIS effective this September. Oduro is the first Vernon player recruited to play for the WolfPack.

“It is really cool,” said Oduro, an outside player who plays both the left and right side. “Everyone in Vernon knows I am coming here. It is a great honour.

“I haven’t been playing volleyball for too long, I started taking it seriously in Grade 10. I fell in love with the sport. I have grown so much and I want to continue playing to see how far I can go.

“I love the fact in volleyball, every ball that goes into the air will be someone’s point and it is a mental game.  You really have to focus to be successful.”

The six-foot-four Oduro was born in Ghana. His father works with the ministry of forests, mines and resources in Vernon.

“My main strengths are that I am really focused. I am adaptable and I think I have a great vertical,” he said. “My vertical helps me locate where the ball can go. It is a huge advantage.”

His Vernon club team entered last month’s provincial championships ranked in sixth spot and finished fifth.

“Charles is a solid prospect for the future,” said Hennelly. “He is a dynamic player and will be a great fit for our program.

Oduro competed in the summer of 2013 for Team B.C.’s U17 squad. His interaction with teammates and coaches, along with a great attitude, drew Hennelly to the soft-spoken hitter.

“He has a great attitude on and off the court along with a good work ethic,” said Hennelly. “We knew we wanted to load up this year with recruits knowing we will have a significant turnover in the next two years. I think Charles will be a solid outside hitter for the WolfPack.”

Oduro, who will take courses with an aspiration of earning a bachelor of business administration, majoring in finance, said his experience with Team B.C., which used TRU as a training base, pointed him towards playing for the WolfPack.

So did the fact that four of his U17 teammates are joining the WolfPack.

“It was a main factor (in my decision), but I think also that because everyone at the university was so welcoming when we came to try out and compete here,” said Oduro, whose coach with Team B.C. in 2013 – Abbotsford’s Matt Krueger – will be his CIS teammate in 2014-15.

“I will still consider him to be my coach,” laughed Oduro. “I want to learn as much from him as possible because he has seniority and is a really good player. I strive to be just as good as him. It will be exciting.”

Said Krueger: “Charles deciding to come to TRU is great. Last summer, he was always asking for advice and looking for ways to improve his game. That’s what you want in a young player.  His willingness to work hard along with his coachable personality will be an asset to the volleyball program and culture at TRU.”

Oduro credits Andrew White, who coached Oduro from Grades 8 to 10 at Seaton, as his biggest influence.

White said Oduro’s ‘breakthrough time’ as a volleyball player came at the 2010 B.C. Junior Boys volleyball championships in Abbotsford.

“Charles had just learned his mother had cancer,” said White. “He kept plugging away, playing hard and found his arm swing. He is definitely a very special player.”

 

Oduro led his team to a fifth place finish at the provincials that year.

 

 

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