For the first time in the university’s history, a King’s soccer player recently took to the pitch for a professional training camp.
UKC goalkeeper and Tantallon native Rylan Logan was invited to the Halifax Wanderers under 23 ID camp in late November.
The Canadian Premier League team’s invitation-only ID camp is designed to give young players a chance to experience what it would be like to practice and play for the club.
“Just getting the invite alone is amazing,” Logan said. “Only a few got an invite, and it showed they saw something about the way I played that they liked.”
To Neil Hooper, who oversees the athletics department at King’s, the opportunity is wholly deserved.
“It’s an amazing opportunity, Rylan is a top level goalkeeper we’re very fortunate to have,” Hooper said. “He’s a guy that could be playing at many different places, but he’s chosen our place, and that has a lot to do with the coach and the players.”
Logan’s passion for soccer began with his family. With three brothers and a sister involved in sports, he’d always found himself around the pitch.
He picked up the sport at the age of five.
“I always played in the top tier growing up. U14, U16, all the way up,” Logan said.
For King’s soccer coach Jamie McGinnis, Logan’s invitation could help draw more interest into the soccer program at the university. It also rewards Logan’s dedication and hard work.
“It’s validation for him, his hard work. He plays year round and does really well with his summer club team,” McGinnis said.
“It also means a lot for the program for recruits, to see there’s a very real pathway between joining the club and getting a look.”
The ID camp is intended for players born 2000 and later. It’s part of the Wanderers’ soccer development plans for the region. Despite frigid temperatures, the ID camp went forward on Nov. 28-29.
“We just played three scrimmage matches, and from the three matches we played two whole games,” Logan said.
“It was basically the top level players from Atlantic University Sport, and from Ontario, basically a lot of top-level Canadian players.”
While the Halifax Wanderers may be a relatively new team, their impact on local soccer in the region is beginning to make waves. Hooper, Logan and McGinnis all think that the presence of the club will grow interest in soccer in Atlantic Canada.
“From their point of view, they’re the only pro soccer team in Atlantic Canada,” McGinnis said. “They want more homegrown talent. They want to connect that bridge between young talent, and getting a look at the Wanderers as well.”
Logan’s skill, attitude, and dedication caught the club’s attention.
“Rylan came to us as a young, very athletic goalkeeper and he hasn’t disappointed us,” Hooper said. “We’ve had varying levels of success as far as wins and losses go, but Rylan’s always on his A-game.”
The CPL’s university draft is set for January 2022, where the Wanderers and other clubs will pick from the best talent in Canadian universities. Logan plans to continue playing for King’s — unless he gets another call from the Wanderers.