Juvy Kooner in a photo posted to instagram.com/juvykooner.

Juvy Kooner in a photo posted to instagram.com/juvykooner.

SOCCER

‘It’s exciting’: Surrey’s Juvy Kooner signs to play pro soccer in Portugal

‘It has been an honour to watch him develop into the skilled, and strong player he has become’

Surrey-raised soccer player Juvraj (“Juvy”) Kooner has signed to play with S.C. Braga, a pro team in Portugal.

“It’s exciting,” Kooner said Tuesday (Dec. 29) from his home in Newton, where he’s been quarantining over the holidays, upon his return from Braga.

On Monday (Dec. 28), a nine-minute “A Day With the Player” video, posted to the Lank Football Club channel on YouTube, documents Kooner’s signing to S.C. Braga. The team plays in the Primeira Liga, Portugal’s top soccer league, at the 30,000-seat Estádio Municipal de Braga.

“The video was done in October but my signing didn’t get announced until now, and they said not to say anything until the video was finished,” Kooner explained. “People started slowly finding out, people close to me, and now it’s out there.

The video opens with comments from a Lank academy scout named Tanou, and also features S.C. Braga’s technical director, Hugo Vieira.

(Story continues below video)

“Juvy has been with our Academy since he was 15 and it has been an honour to watch him develop into the skilled, and strong player he has become,” says a post under the Lank academy video. “We are excited to continue following his career as he takes this huge leap into professional football.”

A central defender, Kooner played with Surrey United in the BC Soccer Premier League before joining the Whitecaps FC residency program in August 2015, according to a bio on whitecapsfc.com.

The 2002-born Kooner was at Surrey’s Tamanawis Secondary for Grade 8 before a move to Burnaby Central with the Whitecaps program. He studied online for a year while playing in Sweden before graduating from Burnsview Secondary in North Delta.

Kooner, who turns 19 on Jan. 2, first met with a Lank Academy rep in Toronto while at a showcase with Canada Soccer, he said.

“An agent there from Sweden was looking to start an academy to promote players from Canada and send them on to Europe,” Kooner explained. “He saw me play and then talked to me afterwards – it’s an academy that moves players on to the next platform.”

S.C. Braga helped Lank open their academy in the Portuguese city.

“I was in Lank Academy the season before, in a tournament against Braga, and that’s where they saw me play, and they’ve been watching me since then. And this season they decided to sign me.

“I was supposed to sign last year but then I tore my ACL,” Kooner added. “That was a tough blow but I just kept in touch with them, and Lank kept in touch with them and provided everything I needed. The rehab went really well and yeah, it was exciting to finally get the chance to sign.”

Kooner has signed a three-year contract with S.C. Braga.

“Hopefully after that I’ll get an extension or maybe I’ll go to another team, it all depends on how I perform,” Kooner said.

“Right now I need to quarantine for another couple of days here, and then I’m leaving around January 10th, for training, and the season hasn’t started yet, and I’m still playing with the U19s and U23s,” he added. “Even though I’ve signed a professional contract, I still have to work my way up the ranks of their club. And the season hasn’t started yet because of COVID, so hopefully that happens in January. They’re not sure yet.”

Born in Vancouver, Kooner moved to Surrey with his family when he was in Grade 2.

He has posted a photo of his signing to his Instagram account.

“I have a lot of agencies calling me now too, to represent me,” he said. “It’s crazy because I know me posting it (on social media) would bring a lot of traffic, but there’s been so many people contacting me, to do this interview or that interview, from agencies, including some from India, where my father is from.”

• RELATED STORY: New indoor soccer turf in Surrey attracts kids, adults who don’t want to play outside.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

soccer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.
LETTER: Langley churches offer in-person services precisely because they care about people

Letter writer concerned Township councillor wants to punish churches with tax threat

Crows gather at in the cottonwoods of Sandra Kidder’s neighbour in Aldergrove every winter morning just before sunrise. (Sandra Kidder/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
SHARE: Aldergrove cottonwoods hosts morning murder of crows

Send us your photo showing how you view Langley, and it could be featured in a future edition

When Langley City resident Dale Attrell, 92, seen here walking in Douglas Park on Saturday, Jan. 10, started a walking club for seniors, it filled up quickly. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Outrunning COVID: a Langley City senior starts a walking club

When Dale Attrell launched a group for older people to go on walks together, it filled up quickly

Langley’s Jim Orlowski, a regular contributor to Through Your Lens, shared this picture of some bird swimming around in Brydon Lagoon. They were spotted while he was walking along the trail in the Nicomekl flood plains. They frequently cross paths with dozens of other walkers and park visitors enjoying the trail on a bright winter day. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
SHARE: Bird friends from Brydon

Send us your photo showing how you view Langley, and it could be featured in a future edition

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Most Read