European flavour to Pacific FC’s top U Sports draft pick

Defender Jan Pirretas Glasmacher from the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack lists his proudest soccer achievement to date as being named to the German U-16 team. Pacific FC believes there’s much more to come in his career and made the six-foot-one 21-year-old their first pick, third overall, in the Canadian Premier League’s U Sports draft Monday in Montreal.

“He has U-18 academy experience with pro teams in Europe [Bayer Leverkusen in Germany and Blackburn Rovers in England] so he has developed in the best of systems,” said Pacific FC CEO and GM Rob Friend.

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Glasmacher is a third-year Canada West first-team all-star who has a German mother and Spanish father. He originally came to North America to play NCAA Div. 1 with Virginia Tech, but was ruled ineligible because of his European pro academy background.

“He was the best overall available player in the draft, in our opinion,” said Friend.

“He has that German football mentality and technical capability and were are really excited by him.”

PFC took midfielder James Gardner of the UBC Thunderbirds with the second selection, 14th overall, in the second of two rounds. Gardner was PFC’s first pick last year, but unable to play because of a knee injury.

“Ideally, we wanted to take Isaac Koch out of the University of Victoria Vikes with our second pick. But because of that injury situation [with Gardner], we were forced to redraft James Gardner,” explained Friend.

Friend said he has talked to Koch and told the Canada West MVP that the team will invite him to camp as a free agent.

“[Koch] is in our backyard with UVic and has the potential to be a player for our club,” said Friend.

As did midfielder Zach Verhoven, taken by Pacific FC in last season’s draft out of UBC, and who earned a pro contract to become one of the revelations of the inaugural CPL season.

“Verhoven became an impact player for us out of the last draft, as did Peter Schaale with HFX of Halifax from Cape Breton,” noted Friend.

Two former Victoria Highlanders from the amateur USL-2 were taken first and second overall Monday. Fourth-year English striker Cory Bent went to the HFX Wanderers of Halifax and second-year Scottish midfielder Marcus Campanile to Valour FC of Winnipeg. Both play for the Cape Breton University Capers, as did Schaale, who is also a former Highlander.

Concluding the first round of the draft, second-year midfielder David Chung of the Alberta Golden Bears went fourth overall to FC Edmonton; third-year striker Stefan Karajovanovic fifth overall from the Carleton Ravens to York9; third-year Carleton striker Gabriel Bitar sixth to Cavalry FC; and Trois-Rivieres freshman Gabriel Weithaeuper-Balbinotti seventh overall to league champion Forge FC of Hamilton.

U Sports underclassmen can play in the pro CPL through the spring and summer until the U Sports season begins, without losing their university eligibility. But some draftees sign pro and never return to U Sports. Thirteen players selected in the inaugural CPL/U Sports draft played a combined 15,249 minutes in the pro league’s just-concluded first season.

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