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

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s first case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

A vehicle incident eastbound on the Trans-Canada Highway in Langley at 264th Street is causing traffic in the area on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. (Drive BC)
TRAFFIC: Eastbound Highway 1 vehicle incident in Langley

Traffic reduced to single lane eastbound

Cody Malawsky at the box lacrosse provincials in 2019. As the highly skilled player adds size he will dominate junior, predicts longtime coach Daren Fridge. (Tim McCormick/Special to The Langley Advance Times)
New addition to Langley Thunder has the genetics to excel at lacrosse, coach says

Cody Malawsky was selected first overall at the BC Junior A Lacrosse League Draft

Vancouver Giants forward Zack Ostapchuk has cracked the latest NHL Central Scouting ‘Players to Watch’ list (Chris Relke/Vancouver Giants)
Ostapchuk makes NHL list

Player with Langley-based Vancouver cracks latest NHL Central Scouting ‘Players to Watch’ list

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Metis Nation of B.C. President Clara Morin Dal Col poses in this undated handout photo. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Metis Nation of B.C. *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Metis Nation of B.C. suspends president, citing ‘breach’ of policies, procedures

Vice-president Lissa Smith is stepping in to fill the position on an acting basis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Payette shouldn’t get same benefits as other ex-governors general: O’Toole

Former governors general are entitled to a pension and also get a regular income paid to them for the rest of their lives

Cascade Christian School in Chilliwack will be closed until Feb. 5, 2021 due to a cluster of cases in the school. The school made the decision to close “out of an abundance of caution,” says Fraser Health. (Cascade Christian School image)
COVID-19 cluster leads to closure at Chilliwack Christian school

Cascade Christian School makes decision to close after seven people test positive for COVID-19

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

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Most Read