Students from all over the world come to study at UNB. So it's no surprise that the V-Reds have an international flavour of their own. On the men's soccer team there are eight foreign players from five countries, mostly from the UK.
Oliver Jones, Max Vitrotti, George Lawton and Matt Mountney all came over from England. Robert Park came to UNB from Scotland. Oisin MacKenna is listed as being from New Hampshire on the roster but still has his roots in Ireland. And how could we forget Santiago Montalvan from Honduras and Diego Padhila from Brazil, who adding a little Central and South American culture to the mix.
Most of them were recruited by head coach Miles Pinsent personally.
“Strategically I decided a few years ago to focus on international players.“, he said. International students often come from good programs with good training backgrounds and “just have more of a natural game sense about them, where I find maybe some Canadian players are lacking this experience," Pinsent explained.
Players from the UK in particular can make the transition easily because the style of game is quite similar and obviously there is no language barrier. Nonetheless, it is a new situation for most of the athletes.
Being several thousands of kilometers away from home surely makes them miss a lots of things. George Lawton, for example, misses his dog. Diego Padhila and Oliver Jones miss the food from back home. And of course everybody misses family and friends. But if you ask them what the biggest cultural difference between Canada and their home country is, all of them say that Canadian kindness is outstanding. Everyone, that is, except for Diego Padhila. He says Brazilians are just as friendly.
It is thanks to this Canadian kindness that everybody immediately felt welcome on the team. The V-Reds are proud of every player, whether he is Canadian or from abraod. It's this spirit that makes everyone on the team feel good and it's definitly one reason for the success of the V-Reds.
Generally all international students see progress in Canadian soccer, saying it's getting faster and more technically proficient. Pinsent agrees with them: "The basic skill set and the basic understanding of the game in canada is growing significally and it continues to grow. Canadian players are getting better and better!"