SURREY (NEWS 1130) — A soccer player raised in Surrey recently signed to play professionally in Portugal and he says, “it’s a dream come.” But reaching his goal came with some ups and downs.
Juvraj Kooner just turned 19 and says he was actually supposed to sign last year after he was scouted while playing for the White Caps in Toronto — but he tore his ACL and had to go through rehab.
With Lank Football Club’s help, once he healed from his injury, Kooner signed a three-year contract with S.C. Braga team — which plays in Portugal’s top soccer league.
“Since a young age I wanted to be a professional player,” he says.
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And now he’ll get the chance, but that also means spending a lot of time far away from home.
“It’s hard because you leave your family… different food, different culture, different routines. But you slowly get used to it and then you start to have fun, you start to make friends. I get to learn a new language, a new culture, which is obviously good for me as I grow as a person too, not just as a player.”
Being from Surrey, Kooner adds he wants other kids in the city to see “it’s very possible” to make it big.
“We have a lot of talent out here. We just need the opportunity to get out there and perform,” he says.
Even off the soccer field, Kooner is encouraging everyone across B.C. to accomplish all they set out for.
“If your kid has a passion, or if you’re a young kid that has a passion in any sport not just soccer — whether it’s swimming, basketball — just know there’s a possibility. And it’s very possible for kids out here to become professional players and chase their dreams.”
Previously, Kooner played for Surrey United in the BC Soccer Premier League and in 2015 he joined the Whitecaps FC Residency program.