By Larry Moko
The Bishop Ryan Celtics have already won a tournament this season and are undefeated in league play thanks in part to a Canadian teenager who received soccer training in Uruguay.
That player is Grade 11 student Nick Vina.
In Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic senior boys’ high school soccer action Tuesday, Vina scored two goals and set up another as the Celtics defeated the Crusaders 3-1 at St. Mary.
The outcome improved Bishop Ryan’s record to 4-0, while St. Mary slipped to 1-2.
Vina was playing with his Oakville Soccer Club team when one of the coaches from the Clarkson Soccer Club noticed him. Said Vina: “He scouted me to go because he had contacts in Uruguay.
“It was a great experience over there. I developed a lot as a player.”
Against the Crusaders, midfielder Vina blasted a couple of 20-25 yard shots into the net with his left foot to lift Bishop Ryan to a 2-0 lead.
St. Mary then replied when Johnny Lillis tapped in a cross from Mineth Fernando in the 56th minute.
The visitors added an insurance marker in the 70th minute when Jayrome Martini outguessed the goalkeeper after being sent in alone by Vina’s long pass.
“St. Mary played well,” Bishop Ryan coach Joe Cvitak said. “It was a tough game. They basically had eight guys in the back.”
“This year we’re definitely more of a possession-based team. We’ve got a strong back line and we like to attack through the middle.”
The BR coach said Vina has been impressive as a Celtic. “Nick is new to the school. He’s a good player. He has excellent ball skill. He controls the middle when he has to and has a great left foot.”
As for the future, Vina says there’s a possibility he could be playing with other academy youth selections in British Columbia this summer.
“In August,” he said, “I might go and play for the Vancouver Whitecaps. I went a couple of months ago for a one-month trial and they liked how I played. They got in touch with me to go back in August.”
For now, though, Bishop Ryan’s success is his main focus.
“We’re doing really well,” Vina said. “We’re taking it a game at a time.”
Bishop Ryan recently won the Spectator Cup tournament, defeating Cardinal Newman in the final.
In other HWCAA boys’ soccer games Tuesday, second-place Newman topped the Cathedral Gaels, 5-1, and the Bishop Tonnos Titans blanked the St. Thomas More Knights, 1-0.
Senior girls’ games saw first-place Bishop Tonnos edge St. Thomas More, 2-1. Bishop Ryan downed St. Mary, 1-0, and Cardinal Newman defeated Cathedral, 6-0.
Source: Marnie Jadon