Ryan Glanville’s university soccer career is ending on a high note.
The 33-year-old from Williams Lake led his team, the TRU WolfPack, to a 3-2 bronze medal victory before a thousand cheering fans in Kamloops Sunday. The triumph marked the first ever national win for the TRU WolfPack and the last university game for Glanville.
“Ending it on a win like this was just incredible. I’m still taking it all in. It was something I didn’t expect but I have enjoyed it and embraced it,” Glanville said Tuesday of capturing the win in the 2017 U SPORTS National Men’s Soccer Championship finals in front of friends and family.
“I never saw myself coming back to play university soccer and it was a huge commitment and a lot of sacrifice, but at the end of the day to be able to go out like this has made it all worth it.”
Glanville said competitive soccer players from small towns can sometimes face stigma, but he believes the support and guidance given to him by his hometown actually worked to his advantage throughout his soccer career.
“It’s incredible, the soccer community we have in Williams Lake,” Glanville said, mentioning past coaches and mentors such as Grant Gustafson, Tom Dell, Mike Grace and his father, Clark Glanville. He also credited older players with “toughening me up.”
“Growing up in Williams Lake, strange as it sounds, actually kind of gave me an advantage.”
Glanville said his success shows if you put in the work, it’s more than possible to achieve anything you put your mind to.
“It’s there for the taking.”
WolfPack head coach John Antulov said the bronze win was “surreal” and a great success for TRU’s athletic department.
Glanville was of course a big part of that success scoring a goal and an assist in the match-up. He was also chosen as the Player of the Game.
The WolfPack started on their march to a medal Thursday, Nov. 9, when the host team scored the lone goal in the second half of play at Hillside Stadium to win against the York University Lions.
Then Friday night, the squad faced off against the number one ranked team in U SPORTS, the Cape Breton Capers.
It was a close game, with the WolfPack forcing overtime, but the Capers pulled ahead to win it 4-2.
“The guys really battled,” Antulov said. “They showed resilience. Even when we went down 4-2 in the second overtime we had four or five great scoring opportunities. They didn’t quit. They kept on fighting.”
The bronze medal face off was a ‘Canada West battle’ against Glanville’s former team, the UBC Thunderbirds.
Read more about the bronze medal match-up: WolfPack men’s soccer: U SPORTS Bronze Medal Winners.
The game got underway at 11 a.m. and there were lots of fans there from Williams Lake to cheer him on, including Ryan’s twin brother Sean and mom Shirley.
“I am incredibly proud of him,” Shirley said from Kamloops. “It brings tears to my eyes when I think about what he has accomplished and how he gives so much of himself to his TRU team.”
Shirley said watching Ryan play soccer for almost three decades now has brought her so much pride and pleasure.
Ryan and Sean are both well-known for their athletics on the Esler soccer fields as teens, with Sean continuing to play here.
This is Ryan’s third and final nationals. He went to nationals twice with UBC, and now with TRU in his final year as a masters student.
Ryan has been named the Canada West First Team All-Star while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. At the championship he was also given the recognition of being selected to the U SPORTS Championship All-Star Team.
Off the soccer field, Glanville has been busy raising a young family – a son, Oliver, and a daughter, Lola – with his wife, Chantel.
“She’s been the rock that makes this all happen – I get emotional just thinking about it,” Glanville said of his wife. “None of this would be possible without her.”
Now that his soccer career has wrapped up, Glanville said he will turn his attention to other things.
“It’s time to shift gears, to be there for my children,” he said, adding he’ll be looking to take on a new hobby, and take a break from soccer.