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.”



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

Through his lens, Doug Cook captured this picture of the Fraser River, Mount Baker, an eagle, and even the Golden Ears Bridge on a sunny fall afternoon. The photo was taken from the wooden walkway leading down to the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport float plane dock. (Contributed photo)
Friends of Semiahmoo Bay to host virtual World Wetland Day event

Webinar event to feature six speakers, to be held Feb. 2

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

One of the Choices Lottery grand prize packages includes a home located at 16730 19 Ave., Surrey. (Contributed photo)
Two South Surrey homes featured in Choices Lottery

Tickets on sale now for BC Children’s Hospital lottery

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a Surrey high-intensity rehabilitation unit, Laurel Place. On Dec. 22, 2020, Fraser Health said four patients and two staff members have tested positive for the virus. (Image: Google Street View)
Fraser Health says COVID-19 outbreak over at Laurel Place in Surrey

Health authority declared outbreak over Jan. 16

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

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(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

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

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

Most Read