A Maple Ridge defender is among a “brilliant batch of BC’s best prospects” that Simon Fraser University announced has joined their Red Leafs men’s soccer program.
Cole Toupin is part of a 10-player, all-B.C. class added to the roster for the 2023 NCAA season.
BC Soccer named Toupin the winner of its 2022 Player of the Year Award, and he has consistently earned recognition for his play and leadership abilities throughout his career. Toupin captained his club teams at Coquitlam Metro-Ford from 2016-19 and 2021-23, as well as at Dr. Charles Best Secondary School in Coquitlam. the last two seasons.
“SFU offers a well-respected soccer program where I can continue my development as a player,” said Toupin. “The school also offers great education that is close to home so I don’t have to worry about moving away.”
From 2019 to 2021, Toupin played in the Whitecaps MLS Boys Academy. Last year, he represented B.C. at the Canada Summer Games.
“We were very intentional about going after local talent,” said SFU head coach Clint Schneider. “We go after the best. We don’t shy away from competition for athletes. As a head coach, I believe in our staff and the type of environment we have here to produce top-level players. The guys who have chosen to come to SFU have bought in. We’ve seen that from day one working with them: buy-in and belief in the process.”
The Red Leafs are considered one of the favourites to win the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in 2023 and make a return to the NCAA Division II tournament. The team tied for first place in the GNAC preseason coaches’ poll.
Schneider says the newest Red Leafs players are an exciting group.
“A lot of these guys live within 30 km of campus, and that is on purpose,” he said. “It’s our identity at SFU to have a Canadian-centric team, sprinkled in with players from outside the province or country. I think this year’s recruiting class is an example of that. There are several guys who’ll have an opportunity to play right away. We’re loyal to the best 11. The guys have taken that to heart and we’ve seen the new players really push the older ones and it’s exciting. I can’t wait for the first official games. The things we’re seeing from the new group are really awesome.”
SFU will open the 2023 regular season with games on Aug. 31 and Sept. 2 at Westmont’s Heritage Club Classic in Santa Barbara, California. The Red Leafs’ first home games will be against Chico State (California) on Sept. 7 and Sonoma State (California) on Sept. 9.
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