Local soccer goalie Lukas Strauts has signed with Latvian football team FK Auda, after several weeks of tryouts over in Eastern Europe.
Strauts, 22, has been playing soccer since he was three and left for tryouts in Latvia and Lithuania back in late January.
In the past, the Seaquam Secondary grad had played goalie for university teams at the University of Victoria and Langara College. In 2016, he went over to Germany to tryout for teams over there, but wasn’t able to make it stick. Heading to Latvia, he said back in January, was the right choice.
“I wanted to start in Latvia … at a reasonable level and work my way up,” he said. “Build a reputation and see where I want to go from there.”
In February, Strauts did several trials with a couple teams in both Latvia and Lithuania — he had originally gone over to try out for FK Jelgva, a team in the top tier of association football in Latvia — but wasn’t able to commit because of a bad case of bronchitis.
When he recovered, his agent told him about an opportunity with the Latvian First League team FK Auda. (Latvian First League is the second tier of football in the country.)
Strauts trained with the team shortly after and won an exhibition match as the goalkeeper. He was offered a spot on the team immediately afterwards.
“It was a stressful time being sick and not being certain if I could recover and get another chance before the transfer period ended,” Strauts wrote in an email from Latvia.
When he was signed, he said, he felt a “sigh of relief and excitement that I have achieved my first step towards greater goals.”