Connor Glennon celebrated his 13th birthday on June 28 by paintballing with his buddies.
Before heading out to the Spallumcheen site, he was asking his mom if they could stop by a park so he could shoot the soccer ball around.
A soccer junkie since Li’l Kickers, Glennon was extra stoked since he had just been selected to the provincial Under 13 Boys team along with Thompson Okanagan FC teammate Taitum MacAulay, also of Vernon.
“I work with both feet,” said Glennon, of his training regiment. “I scored half of my goals with my left foot this season.”
Blessed with blazing speed, Glennon led the EA Sports B.C. Soccer Premier League with eight goals while playing left wing and striker. He runs BX Falls with his dad, John, and younger brother, Liam, for fun.
“I loved soccer right away,” said Connor, of his tyke-playing days. “I love how active you are and having fun. My dad helped me a lot. We had a pretty big net in the back yard.”
He’s received superb coaching all the way up, with Claire Paterson, David Broadhurst and Wayne Aasen of the Vernon academy and TOFC head coach Shaun Flanigan all instrumental in pushing Glennon to be better mentally and physically.
“I wanna get a scholarship and maybe take it from there,” said Glennon, who is better concentrating on team strategies with intelligent decisions this year. “I learned a lot from David. I always learned stuff from my dad, but David taught me how to make my first touch, how to trap the ball and to think, ‘shot, shot.’ I want to keep learning.”
Glennon, who played Y-League (now EA Sports) as an underager last year, has amped up his first touches in twice weekly one-on-one sessions with Aasen since December.
A former downhill ski racer, Glennon now free skis in the Telus Park at Silver Star with his friends.
MacAulay is an acrobatic keeper with a powerful kick who had a fabulous first season with the TOFC after moving here from Bellingham.
“I’ve always played goal,” said MacAulay, who turned 13 in January. “I found I had really good reflexes and I kind of liked the pressure; when I made the save, the crowd cheered. I’ve taken lots of shots to the face but I don’t mind.”
MacAulay’s mom, Irene, took the phone call confirming Taitum’s provincial selection.
“That was probably the best day of my life, and it came right before the last day of school,” smiled Taitum, who got an award for perfect attendance at Kidston Elementary.
He played U11 and U12 Rep Development in Bellingham and blossomed under Paterson’s spring goalkeeping clinics in Vernon.
“Claire’s taught me a lot. She really helped me to make better dives. When I first got there, I wasn’t that good at dives. Now I can make the crazy, diving saves.”
MacAaulay, whose dad, Mike, is a respiratory therapist, beams when he talks about his soccer-loving grama, Marjorie MacAaulay.
“She’s always at my games.”
The provincial team will train in Vancouver until July 21 in preparation for the regional championships, July 22-29, in Winnipeg.
Head coach Darren Rath sent a letter to both teams, explaining why they were chosen.
Wrote Rath: “Your selection was based on an evaluation of your technical, tactical and physical abilities as a player. In addition to the scouting process, the Provincial Teams Program coaching staff took into consideration your performances within Phase 1 and 2 of the program along with information and recommendations from the EA Sports B.C. Soccer Premier League technical directors and club team coaching staff.
“This included your individual personality and overall commitment to develop as a high performance player.”