We finish up our breakdown of the TSS Rovers squad for the upcoming League1 BC season with a look at the forwards currently signed to the team (we’re basing this position on their listed college/transfermarkt position).
You can catch up with our first two parts below:
Midfielder Euan Aitchison is a returnee to TSS, but will be making his debut with the first team this season, along with his sister Kathleen who will be playing with the Rovers’ women’s team in L1BC.
The 19-year-old came through the TSS academy and has played with the TSS FC U21 side, scoring the winning goal that saw them win the 2019 VMSL U21 Cup final.
Aitchison headed into the college ranks last year, joining the University of New Brunswick Reds, where he made just one start in his rookie season in the last game of the year.
23-year-old Norwegian winger Conrad Cheng is certainly an intriguing addition to the Rovers roster and one that brings a lot of experience to a young team.
Cheng comes to TSS after a very successful Junior season with SFU in NCAA Division II, where he won the GNAC Newcomer of the Year and was named to the Conference First Team in the end of season awards. In his first season up Burnaby Mountain, Cheng made 14 appearances for SFU, 13 of them starts, scoring three goals and leading the team with 22 shots.
Last year was his third college season after being recruited by the University of New Hampshire in 2017. Cheng made 21 appearances for the Wildcats in his rookie season in NCAA Division 1, five of them starts, scoring one goal. He followed that up in 2018 with 15 appearances, but none of those were starts and he was only able to register one assist on the year.
Cheng decided to go back to Norway and played for Second Division side Skied, a club he’s also played with at U19 level and in the third tier with their second team. He has also spent time on trial with Werder Bremen in Germany, Hajduk Split in Croatia, and in 2019 with Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning. After the SFU season wrapped up he played for Croatia SC in the VMSL this year.
One of the youngest players on the TSS L1BC roster, Jack Cluff has trained with Total Soccer in Richmond and played this past fall season with TSS Rovers II U21 side in the FVSL where he scored 20 goals, including one hat-trick, and impressed many watching with his play. Those goals saw him lead the team and finish second in the Division 1 Golden Boot standings.
Cluff played his youth football with Fusion FC and earned an invitation to a Whitecaps Pre-Residency combine in his early years.
After such a strong FVSL season, it will be very interesting to see how Cluff does at this next level.
IVAN MEJIA YEPES
Ivan Mejia is another player coming to TSS this season with experience within the Whitecaps Academy, joining the ‘Caps in August 2018 after a youth career with Mountain United in the BCSPL.
The forward had a season with the ‘Caps U19s and has played locally for NVFC Norvan in the VMSL before moving to the side FC Tigers, where he scored 10 goals for the FVSL treble winners this past winter season, where he was often pulling the strings from the midfield.
Mejia is now looking to take the next step of his career with TSS in L1BC.
The 2021 NCAA Division II season was 22-year-old Devin O’Hea’s fourth at SFU, but only his third on the soccer team. The talented 6-foot-1 forward is a two-sport athlete at SFU, playing the his Freshman year in 2018 on the University’s football team as a wide receiver and the subsequent seasons on the soccer team.
O’Hea made five appearances for SFU on the soccer pitch in 2019, starting the first three games of the season, and made six appearances last year.
Both sports’ programs had offered him a scholarship when he graduated high school, but the North Vancouver native initially chose football over his soccer, before deciding his heart lay with the beautiful game in 2019. There’s a fantastic piece by Howard Tsumura on O’Hea on the Varsity Letters site.
O’Hea’s soccer prowess as a youth had earned him a place with the Whitecaps pre-Residency program and then the full Residency program in 2015, but he quit the ‘Caps as he couldn’t play the other sports he loved, football and basketball, and went back to his old school and played his soccer with Mountain United.
While at the Whitecaps, O’Hea played for the U16s in the 2015/16 USSDA season, alongside Alphonso Davies, and made 18 appearances, three of those being starts. He was part of two Canadian U17 national team camps in 2016. He’s also played soccer for Team BC and has played in the VMSL with NVFC Norvan for the past couple of years, scoring one goal for them this past season.
A 6-foot-4, you’d expect Taylor Richardson to be a big target man up front, but the pacey winger does his damage in other ways on the pitch, especially in 1-v-1 situations, and is bringing a good goalscoring pedigree to TSS.
Richardson has just finished a first season at the University of Fraser Valley, where he scored four goals in 15 appearances, 11 of them starts, in Canada West, helping the Cascades to a place in the Final Four. He’s found a rich vein of goalscoring form recently, bagging a hat-trick against TWU Spartans in March’s Keg Spring Cup in Victoria.
Prior to making the switch to UFV, Richardson spent three seasons with Douglas Royals in PACWEST. He was a key player for the Royals and was named a Conference First Team All-Star in 2018 after scoring six goals in 12 regular-season games, and in 2019 he scored one goal in 11 games as the Royals won the PACWEST title and booked a berth at the CCAA national championships, where they finished fourth. Richardson was named to the CCAA tournament’s All-Star XI for his two goals and one assist in four games.
Once the college season was over, Richardson played for Rino’s VSC Coastal in the VMSL this winter, scoring two goals and grabbing a first half hat-trick last month in their 6-1 Provincial A Cup first round win over Cowichan FC, so he’s coming into the L1BC season in good form.