The strength of most successful soccer teams starts with a solid foundation in the middle.
To that end, the UBC Okanagan Heat, coming off a 2-7-5 season that saw them miss the PacWest playoffs, have recruited Notre Dame High School soccer captain and Team B.C. member Alex Lazazzera for the 2013 season.
Described as a solid all-around player, both in attacking and defensive roles, and with a high level of competitiveness, Lazazzera has some familiarity with the UBCO soccer program.
The 5-foot-10 and 150-pound midfielder played for UBCO head coach Dante Zanatta while with the B.C. provincial program.
"He is the type of player we were looking for - very athletic, very skilful and with a great work ethic," said Zanatta. "He'll be a great addition to our program and I have no doubt he will have a very strong career at UBCO."
Although a prolific scorer for his Notre Dame high school team - he scored four goals in a single game last season and added a hat trick in a tournament in 2011 - Lazazzera thinks of himself as more of a playmaker than a sniper.
The 18-year-old played for the Coquitlam Metro-Ford Sparta for the past six years and last year helped his team win the provincial club champion-ship. Sparta went on to take place third at the Canadian club championship tournament in Alberta.
Lazazzera competed at the 2011 B.C. Summer Games, helping his zone claim the silver medal, and he trained at the National Training Centre in 2010 and 2011.
"It's a bit of a coup to get a player of his quality," Zanatta said. "UBC Okanagan has never had a player this involved in the National Training Centre before. This signing shows the rest of B.C. and that we are recruiting these types of players and that this a good place to be for school and soccer."
Lazazzera plans to enroll in the human kinetics program.
"I've wanted to be a personal trainer for a very long time, so a degree in human kinetics is my goal," he said.
Coach Zanatta hopes that the details can be worked out so that Lazazzera can play for his Okanagan Challenge team this summer.
"That would give Alex a head start on learning our systems and add familiarity with many of his future teammates," said Zanatta.
The Challenge play in the men's Premiere Division of the Pacific Coast Soccer League. The season runs from the end of April through July.