2011 Annual Report
U-13 Boys Hold Their Own in Scandinavian Tournament
This 2011 European tour stated once more in the crowded mess that is YVR. As in previous years, 15 families came together, many for the first time. This would start a trip that would take nearly a full 24 hours to reach their destination and take 15 boys halfway across the world from the great white north to two tournaments in Scandinavia. Players, parents and coaches alike would spend the next 2 weeks together in a manner similar to many reality television shows. However, in this case there was no guarantee that anyone would walk away with a prize.
The first stop was Denmark and the Dana Cup with no time to recuperate from travel. The first game of the tournament started less than a day after the team arrived in the small Danish seaport town of Frederikshavn. The boys had the honor of facing off with the home side, F.f.I Fodbold, in this opening match. As is often the case with home field advantage, it was less about cheering fans, and more about knowing the bounces of a field that would not see any action in later stages of the tournament. Despite strong winds (Denmark is after all just a small peninsula that juts off the north of Germany into the moody North Sea) the Tulis boys managed a 1-0 half-time lead. The home side was persistent and managed to draw level at 1-1 in the latter part of the second half.
2nd Annual Tulis Alumni Game A Success!
The 17th of June was pegged by weather forecasters as a chance for Vancouver to showcase its infamous west coast hospitality in the form of liquid sunshine. However, Roman Sr. was clearly smiling alongside his alumni as the sunshine beat out the clouds in the first of many spectacular feats on the day. Perhaps only slightly more spectacular was the smell surrounding the training field, as instead of sweat and tears, the sweet aroma of European sausages greeted parents, players, and spectators alike as they made the time-honored trek to the Tulis facility. While Friday afternoon traffic held up the proceedings somewhat, it was clear as the Alumni warmed up that they were ready to shift to the heavy gears in memory of their beloved coach. Such was Roman’s kindness and charisma that hundreds showed up to celebrate the things that he valued most: family, charity, and – of course – soccer. With the BCCCPA on site to accept donations in support of families burdened by the stresses and financial woes of childhood cancer, games and contests for children young and old, and a fantastic evening of soccer ahead, Roman’s cleat prints were hard to miss while walking the venue.
Tracking Tulis Alumni Around the Globe
2011 was an exciting year for our Tulis Alumni as many of our players made breakthroughs and reinvented themselves on the global soccer scene. Whether forging a career at university or blossoming in the spotlight of some of the world’s most competitive leagues, it’s clear that hard work and determination are part and parcel of their success, sentiments very much echoed in Roman’s philosophy for the school. It was Roman’s hope that as his players grew and developed upon leaving the school, they would return to inspire and support another generation of Tulis players; over the years, countless Alumni have done just that, and none in a bigger way than at the Alumni Charity Match. As an attempt to show our young players that big things await them if they make a commitment to becoming “…the best that [they] can be”, the match (to be held for third time this spring/summer) will showcase many of the Alumni featured in this report.
Tulis Players in the News 2011
Marcus Haber, 2005 School Boy & 2009 Hall of Fame Inductee
While Marcus struggled with injury in the first half of 2011, the start of a new season in August brought with it a renewed hope for the Tulis-bred striker. Currently plying his trade in the Scottish First Division with St. Johnstone, Marcus has managed to cement his place in a squad that has taken down the likes of Celtic in a season that so far sees them sitting 4th in the league. Marcus has netted twice (vs. Hibernian & Aberdeen) and provided his strike partners with numerous assists as he looks to make himself a force for his club as their form continues to improve into the new year.
Terry Dunfield, 2008 Hall of Fame Inductee
After a memorable start to 2011 that saw him score for his hometown club in their first-ever MLS match, Terry soon found himself playing with the very team that his first strike did damage against as he made a shock move from the Vancouver Whitecaps to Toronto FC. Perhaps his International form fueled Toronto’s desire to sign the Tulis product, as Terry got on the score sheet for Canada for the first time on June 1st, 2011 in a 2-2 draw against South American giants, Ecuador. Since arriving in Ontario’s capital, Terry has received a warm reception from TFC fans as he continues to lead the charge in growing the beautiful game right here on home soil.
Niall Cousens, 2006 School Boy
The last few seasons have been big ones for Niall, with the young striker poised to build on what is an already blossoming career by cementing his place in an experienced Sparta Prague side. While the traditional Canadian soccer stigma has made it difficult for him to earn the approval of the locals, his sublime technical ability and relentless movement is quickly winning fans. As with many of our Alumni, you can keep up to date with all of Niall’s exploits either through Facebook or via a quick web search which reveals his website alongside numerous stories that have been written about this prolific Tulis starlet
Kevin Harmse, 2000 School Boy
During the first half of 2011, Kevin made a surprise return to the Vancouver Whitecaps after having first played with them 6 years earlier. While making solid contributions in the opportunities he was given, the hero’s homecoming was not to be as Kevin parted ways with the squad a few months after signing. New challenges are on the horizon, however, as he recently signed with NASL expansion franchise, the San Antonio Scorpions. Unveiled as one of the club’s marquee signings, he’s well placed to be an integral part of an organization that is nothing short of special. A first in North American professional sport, the Scorpions are a non-profit soccer club with an aim to raise funds and awareness to support children with disabilities in the San Antonio area; add to that a new stadium that is currently under construction, and it’s easy to see why there’s a lot of excitement behind this new, unquestionably unique team.
Mason Trafford, 2010 Hall of Fame Inductee
After signing for IFK Mariehamn of the Finnish First Division last year, Mason has made himself an indispensable part of the squad. Leading his teammates from the backline, he’s managed to stop some of the continent’s finest strikers while at the same time finding the back of the net twice himself. Mason has certainly chosen a unique path, as Finland hasn’t historically been a soccer superpower, but the Finnish league’s exposure has grown of late, recently developing a devout following among locals. At 25 years old, he is starting to play some of the best soccer of his life; with time on his side to continue improving, the future is looking promising for this Tulis Alumnus.
Paige Adams, 2003-2006 School Girl & 2008 Hall of Fame Inductee
2011 was a comeback year for Paige after she was sidelined due to injury in 2010. After being named to the 2009 Big Ten All-Freshman team, she was back to prove that she could still compete with the best young players in North America at the University of Wisconsin. Throughout the season, she made 14 appearances for the Badgers, getting back to goal scoring ways with an important stroke against Purdue University. Given her strong finish to the year, there’s much anticipation as to what she’ll be able to produce in her fourth and likely final year at the U of W.
Jovan Blagojevic, 2007 School Boy
In his second year coaching in the full-time program, there is little doubt that Jovan has an acute and insightful understanding of the game. In 2011, he put that understanding to good use during his exploits on the pitch with Simon Fraser University’s Men’s Soccer Team, the first – and only – Canadian university to compete in the prestigious NCAA. In a record breaking undefeated season in the GNAC conference, Jovan led the Clan with 3 goals and 3 assists. Thanks to Jovan’s expert striking skills, SFU went on to claim 18 wins and a draw to finish atop the GNAC standings in the NCAA Division II.
Alexander Marello, 2004 School Boy
Alex recently signed a professional contract with SC Veendam of the Dutch Eerste Divisie (Second Division), securing a Canadian presence in the north of soccer-mad Netherlands. Drawing on his experience with the Canadian U-17 and U-20 National teams, Alex has been hailed by locals for bringing a distinctly international flavour not usually associated with the Great White North. While Veendam have struggled so far this season, they have found promising form of late, hoping to make a climb up the table during the new year; led by the Roman Tulis 2004 School Boy in the midfield, such an increase in fortunes is more likely than not.
Kent O’Connor, 2004 School Boy & 2009 Hall of Fame Inductee
After returning from his most recent international spell in Germany, Kent decided to put his soccer skills to work in securing an education at one of Canada’s premier institutions. Back in Vancouver and with the UBC Thunderbirds for the first time this season, he made quick work of securing the confidence of his coaches and teammates, scoring 2 goals in 5 starts from midfield to cap off a good first season. Kent has also found ways to give back to the community he grew up in, coaching the Douglas Park U-16 Gold Boys’ Team to winning ways in the first half of the 2011-2012 season.
Gianluca Zavarise, 2003 School Boy & 2009 Hall of Fame Inductee
Even though Toronto and Vancouver aren’t exactly close on the map, Gianluca’s Canadian ties were enough to make playing in Ontario’s capital feel like home. After securing a spot in the national team pool, it was only a matter of time before the MLS took notice. In January of 2011, he was invited to attend a Toronto FC preseason tour than included a trip to Turkey; the rest, as they say, is history. In a season that saw the fiery midfielder string passes through opposition backlines, Gianluca was able to impact nearly every game he played in. A free agent for the upcoming 2012 season, he’s sure to be on wanted lists for teams across the continent, and perhaps even beyond.
Michael Nonni, 2006 School Boy
As a third year player for the University of California Santa Barbara, Michael has become a regular fixture on the NCAA scene. While pursuing interests in Business and Sports Management, he contributed to another successful season for the southern giants as he led the team to the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship. With his support, the Gauchos managed to push on past their opening round opponents and all the way to the third round, stopped short just before the quarter finals. His tireless work along the front line was rewarded with some important assists, contributing to an outstanding 2nd place finish in the highly competitive Big West Conference.
Brandon, a Vancouver native and long-time Tulis player, played a prominent role in midfield for the UBC Thunderbirds in a highly successful season. Currently in his 4th year of studies, he’s making the most of his international experience with the Canadian U-20 Men’s National Team to help the development of some of the younger players on the squad, an endeavor that has had an immediate impact for the Thunderbirds, and should do so for years to come.
Sean Haley, 2008 School Boy
One of the more recent Tulis graduates, Sean is making the most of his soccer education at UBC where he gave flight to the Thunderbirds this season through his dominating performances in central midfield. In his second year at UBC, Sean’s hard work and commitment was recognized by the league as he earned the honour of Canada West Athlete of the Week on October 11th. During a season that has seen him start all 8 league games and slot 5 goals from central midfield, his consistency was perhaps most impressive; you’d be hard pressed to find a day when Sean wasn’t a stand-out performer for the Vancouver-based team.
Carolyn Bell, 2006 School Girl
Although her performances were restricted somewhat this season, Carolyn made the most of the opportunities she was given, shoring up the backline of a team that finished the year as the 4th ranked squad in Canadian University athletics in a highly impressive 2011. Currently in her third year of studies, Carolyn has used her soccer skills to great advantage to securing an education at one of Canada’s finest facilities, setting herself up for a degree in International Development Studies. As one of the hardest working young women ever to work under Roman’s guidance, expect Carolyn to enjoy a successful 2012 as she enters her senior year with the Martlets.
Not only a great soccer player but also an amazing field hockey player, Gabriel Ho-Garcia, earned his first 6 caps for Canada’s National Senior Men’s Field Hockey team in Johannesburg, South Africa in November/December 2011 and also scored his first international goal in only his second game for Canada (in their 3-2 loss to Argentina). Fluent in Spanish and English, Ho-Garcia just grinned when he revealed he could understand all the Argentineans’ were saying on the pitch, going as far to confess that he would willingly have traded his goal for a Canada victory.