Trio of UK players sign with UFV Cascades

Charlie Lovell, Shaun Cavanagh and Spencer Williams (from left) have committed to the UFV men’s soccer program for next season.

Charlie Lovell, Shaun Cavanagh and Spencer Williams (from left) have committed to the UFV men’s soccer program for next season.

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer program has extended its recruiting reach across the Atlantic, signing a trio of players from the United Kingdom.

Forwards Shaun Cavanagh (Caernarfon, Wales) and Charlie Lovell (Billericay, England) and midfielder Spencer Williams (Tenby, Wales) will join the Cascades for the 2017 season. With their commitments, the Cascades’ 2017 rookie class is now eight players strong. Previously announced recruits include Vancouver Whitecaps residency product John Kasper and Surrey United standouts Noah Da Silva, Tré Spedding, Karan Kular and Sammy Kajzerek.

Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes, who hails from Wales, said the opportunity to play overseas is attractive for United Kingdom talent.

“I have a lot of contacts from growing up – players I played with who are now into coaching or have their own scholarship agencies – and the desire and appeal for players to come to North America is massive,” he said. “A lot of it is, there’s a big disconnect between kids who from 16 to 18 are in pro academies, and then they’re not offered pro contracts. They’re not quite good enough to play pro immediately, but they’re still very good players.

“Recruiting locally is our first priority, but any time we can go out of province or out of country is a good thing. We can cast our net a little bit further, and bringing in three kids from U.K. is another example of how our program is growing. All three will bring real technical quality, and will also add competitiveness to the squad. They come from a place where soccer is a way of life, and that brings some extra desire and hunger that we’ll welcome this season.”

Cavanagh has made several appearances for the Welsh Colleges U18 and U19 teams and the Welsh Schools U18 team.

In 2015-16, he helped his club win the U19 Welsh Development League title, scoring 25 goals along the way, while also making 20 first-team appearances and scoring three goals. This season, Cavanagh has amassed 19 goals with the Bangor City U19 side along with three goals for the first team.

Lowndes described Cavanagh as a “natural striker.”

Williams won the Bobby Charlton Soccer Academy tournament as a youth player and finished third at the Charlton World Cup.

Lovell celebrated a Chelmsford Div. 1 Cup title (2008-09) with the Billericay Town Colts, and was part of a league and Cup runner-up squad in 2009-10 and a Cup finalist in 2011-12. With Bowers & Pitsea FC, he helped the club win the Easter Open International Youth Tournament in 2013-14, and was voted the 2015-16 player of the year in the Eastern Junior Alliance by both managers and players. His Seevic College squad was the runner-up in their league last season.

For more on the players, visit ufvcascades.ca.

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