Dante Zanatta believes he has a keeper in Vernon soccer keeper Kevin Morgan.
Zanatta, head coach of the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s college soccer squad, signed Morgan earlier this year before COVID-19 forced the CIS U-SPORT to cancel all fall team sports, including men’s soccer. So there will be no Canada West action for the freshman Morgan, though he retains his eligibility.
Morgan is a first-year player battling for playing time with the Heat.
“First and foremost, he’s a great character kid and a good athlete,” Zanatta said. “He’s got good hands and has a great frame for a keeper. He moves well, has a great work ethic, very committed and very coachable.”
A recent Vernon Secondary School Class of 2020 graduate, Morgan has been plying his trade with the Thompson Okanagan Football Club (TOFC) for a number of years, and feels he’s ready to make the leap to the college level.
“Obviously the play will be a lot faster and the players will be a lot stronger and faster,” said Morgan, 18, who plans to study philosophy, political science and economics (PPE) in the UBCO classrooms. “I think I’ll do well. I’m very excited to start my college career.”
Prior to the cancellation of the 2020 season, Morgan had been going on runs and working out with weights to stay in shape. He helped the Vernon Panthers’ basketball team finish fourth at the 2020 B.C. high school championships, a year after being named a provincial all-star when the Cats dropped the championship game by two points to the North Delta Huskies.
Staying close to home with the Heat helped attract Morgan to UBCO.
“I really like their program,” he said. “They have a pretty good team. Academic options were another reason, along with being close to home.”
The Heat finished 6-6-4 in 2019, missing a post-season berth by just one point.
When play resumes, Morgan will battle incumbent keeper Nicholas Reitsma, a fourth-year player from Kelowna, for playing time between the woodwork.