Forest Hill’s sweeper, Jurgen Kela, has a deceiving set of wheels on him.
He’s quick, even though he’s built like a tank, says his coach Mihai Sinevici.
For this year Kela, captain of the senior boys soccer team, was switched from his traditional defender position this year, and Sinevici was not disappointed by the choice.
“Last year he played as a sweeper and this year I just clicked and said let’s move him up front,” he said. “I guess that was a good decision because in lots of games we won by him scoring.”
It was a bit of a challenge for the 6-foot-2 Kela though as he had to quickly find his bearings against opponents.
“I’ve always been a centre-field defender but the coach thought that my speed would be an attribute to being a forward,” he said. “I found it quite difficult in the beginning because I didn’t know my position very well.”
The converted forward has been playing soccer since his days growing up in Newcastle, Ont. For him it was just a natural progression, as his dad and grandpa played the sport.
He only started kicking it up a notch when he turned 15, playing for Darlington in grade 10. Moving to Toronto in grade 11 he made a falcon-line to Forest Hill.
Kela also joined the Toronto Eagles in the indoor league, and currently trains for a soccer academy.
Sinevici rued that he couldn’t coach Kela for more than the two years he’s been a Falcon, as he has grown into a good all-around player.
“Compared to the previous two years, at the beginning he was kind of childish but I noticed this year he improved a lot,” Sinevici said. “He matured big time.
“He became a true leader on the field,” he added. “I noticed the way he organized the team, warming up — so true to a leader.”
There’s been some disappointment, however. Over-enrollment at Forest Hill bumped the school up into AAA contention. If the Falcons were still AA, their 4-2 loss to Malvern Oct. 27 would not have ended their season prematurely.
“So we missed our chances for an OFSAA playdown,” Sinevici said. “It is deflating. If we would have been a AA team still we would have qualified for the playdowns.”
Even though Kela will be graduating, he is optimistic his teammates will pick up right where they left off.
“We had a lot of younger players coming through and I think the future of Forest Hill soccer is going to be greater next year,” he said.
When September rolls around, Kela plans to study kinesiology in the halls of University of Toronto, Ryerson or York.
Still, he won’t rule out trips to Kingston, Ont. or south of the border.
“Preferably, I’d like to stay in the Toronto area,” he said. “So obviously, U of T, Ryerson and York, but also I have been looking at Queen’s and depending on my academy training, if I do get a scholarship to go to the States, I’ll be going there.”
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