PRINCE GEORGE – The UNBC men’s soccer Timberwolves have added some international flare to their roster for the upcoming season.
Defender Emmanuel Drame, originally from Passama, Liberia, has committed to the Timberwolves, having transferred from Red Deer College to begin his UNBC studies in January.
The six-foot-two Drame, a political science major with a minor in international development studies, has come to appreciate the technical side of soccer since coming to Canada from Ghana in January 2014.
“Soccer has been part of my life since age five,” Drame said. “It’s something that came to me naturally. In Africa, we didn’t really take into account the technical aspect of the game, so it was just physically raw talent manifesting itself.”
Drame, who cites players like Paris Saint-Germain defender David Luiz and Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini as his influences, has been impressed with what he’s seen from his new teammates.
“The program here and the level of commitment I’ve seen is way different,” he said. “Here, the training is year-round, which is good for the entire team.”
Timberwolves head coach Steve Simonson praised Drame for his immediate impact on the team’s defensive game.
“He has brought an incredible presence at the back for us and will be a great boost to our back four,” he said. “He has a great composure with the ball at his feet which will mesh well with the playing philosophy of the team.”
Simonson also likes the way Drame has fit in with the team as a person.
“He has gelled with the team quite well and has a really likeable personality,” he said. “I am looking forward to seeing his first season in our squad.”
Drame is quick to credit his new teammates for helping make the transition to Prince George easier.
“It’s much more like a bunch of brothers right now,” he said of the team’s dynamic. “Having guys like Gordon (Hall) and Josh (McAvoy), and then Tofa (Fakunle), Francesco (Bartolillo), Darin (Kamsteeg)... They keep checking up on me.
“All the guys have been pretty helpful in helping me settle in.”
Though Drame isn’t necessarily the type to set goals, he understands the dedication needed to be successful.
“All in all, whenever I take to the field, I just tell myself to give nothing less than my best, and always try to work hard for the team,” he said. “Whatever comes is just a compliment of my hard work.”
Drame believes the Timberwolves are ready to take more positive strides.
“I think it’s [a program] that can actually foster something better for the future,” he said.
“Looking at the style Steve has, and bringing in younger kids from high school to train with us before they can start post-secondary studies, it’s really good.
“I see greater things for the school and its athletics program, especially soccer with Steve.”