Growing up in England, Joe Overton comes by his soccer skills naturally.
So it’s no surprise the 17-year-old Grade 12 student and captain of the Okanagan Mission Huskies senior boys soccer team has found a place to continue his soccer career once high school is over.
Overton has been offered a spot on the University of Calgary soccer team this fall after a recent tryout at the university went well.
“The way I grew up (in England) with my dad loving the sport and everyone around liking it, I became accustomed to it,” said Overton. “I played pretty much my whole life. It was part of the culture and part of your life.”
After moving to Kelowna five years ago, Overton brought his considerable soccer skill to OKM where he joined the senior boys soccer team in Grade 10 to begin a stretch of three straight provincial medals, winning bronze as a Grade 10, gold in Grade 11 and this year a silver as team captain.
It was the first three years of the senior boys program at the school and Overton says the team really came together with a lot of skill and determination.
“The way we bonded as a team and came from nowhere to winning gold was amazing,” he said. “We won the first banner in 21 years for the school and that was a huge deal for us as a team and as a school. No one expected it from us so it was really cool.”
The last two captains of the OKM soccer team have both found their way to the University of Calgary as Overton will follow in the footsteps of 2011 captain Robin Whittaker and ’12 captain Andrew Stevenson at the U of C.
For Overton, the offer to come to Calgary comes after a couple of years battling through ankle injuries. Now 100 per cent healthy, Overton was invited to the university to train, play an exhibition game and go through fitness testing before the coaching staff offered him a red-shirt position in the first year, meaning he still has to work his way onto the top team in Calgary.
But the session motivated the 6-foot-1, 185 centre-back to get better over the summer.
“The coach liked the fact I’m big and strong and can win headers and tackles,” said Overton of the feedback he received. “He talked to me about fitness. That needs to be improved as well as my speed in my first 10 yards of running.”
With the high school season behind him, Overton is currently playing for Thompson Okanagan FC’s Under-18 team and plans to work hard this off-season to get in better shape and work towards a full time spot at the University of Calgary when he reports in the fall.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for me but if I keep working on my fitness and my game, hopefully I can earn a starting spot in a year or so,” he said. “I love the idea of a challenge.”