Vancouver Whitecaps Residency alumni Adam Polakiewicz became a PDL Champion this past weekend with his hometown K-W United.
He was in good company alongside another former Residency graduate, Wesley Cain, and former D2 Whitecap, head coach, Chris Pozniak.
“Amazing,” was Polakiewicz’s one word answer to sum up how he was feeling when AFTN caught up with him right after the match in Tukwila, Washington on Sunday. “It’s an unbelievable feeling. Haven’t felt this in a long time.”
The win also happened the day before Polakiewicz’s 21st birthday, so some extra celebrations were in order for the former Whitecap.
It was with the ‘Caps that Polakiewicz first cut his teeth in the PDL, seeing minutes with Whitecaps U23s as a 17 and 18-year-old in the 2011 and 2012 seasons, registering one assist.
Polakiewicz came to the Whitecaps Residency in 2010 as a left sided defender who could also play in midfield and having spent his previous youth career in Ontario with Kitchener Spirit, Oakville Raiders and Portugal FC Reserves in the CSL Reserve League.
As a Whitecap he played with the U18s in the USSDA, graduating in the summer of 2012. During his time in Vancouver, Polakiewicz was capped for Canada at U17 level, helping the team to a runners-up spot in the 2011 CONCACAF U17 Championship and earning a spot at the 2011 FIFA U17 World Cup in Mexico, where he played in all three games.
Polakiewicz’s last Championship game experience came with Vancouver back in 2012, when the ‘Caps missed out on the USSDA U18 Championship with a heartbreaking late 3-2 loss to FC Dallas.
Much different outcomes, obviously, but how did Sunday’s PDL experience compare?
“Different emotions from back then till now,” Polakiewicz admitted. “We actually won this one, so I’m happy about that!”.
K-W’s dramatic 4-3 Final win over New York Red Bulls saw the Kitchener-Waterloo side lift their first ever PDL Championship in just their fifth season of existence, the first two of which were spent as Hamilton FC Rage before the move 75km northwest.
In the three years since they moved to playing out of Waterloo’s University Stadium, the team has been on a constant rise from failing to qualify for the playoffs in 2013, to losing out in the Conference semi-finals last year, to now winning the whole shebang.
Polakiewicz has been with them for all three seasons, joining the club after a brief spell in Poland with Slask Wroclaw. It doesn’t get much nicer than winning your first Championship with your hometown club, especially after his time with K-W got off to worst possible start.
“The first year I played with this team I tore my ACL,” Polakiewicz told us. “That’s why I took time off. I kept rehabbing and rehabbing and look where I’m at now!”
The Kitchener native made 12 appearances for K-W this season (as hard as it is to gather from the stats!), scoring two goals and contributing one assist. That assist and one of his goals came in the crucial Central Conference Championship game against last year’s PDL winner, the Michigan Bucks.
He came on as a second half sub in Sunday’s final, playing a left wing role, but with United’s lead being increasingly eroded, what was going through his mind as the Red Bulls got themselves back into the game?
“We just got to keep pushing, keep pushing,” he said. “The last minutes it was just keep going, keep going.”
It worked and Polakiewicz now has a shiny gold winners medal for his collection. And he hopes to add more to it and is keen to try and make a go of it in the professional ranks. So what’s next for Adam?
“I’m going back over to Europe in a couple of weeks,” Polakiewicz told us. “Poland again.”
We wish him all the best and will be keeping an eye on his progress.