Surrey soccer player pulls pints and scores goals

SURREY – Surrey’s Sahil Sandhu has been leading the Vancouver Metro Soccer League in scoring for several weeks and one of the reasons the attacking midfielder/forward thinks he’s performing so well is due to added responsibility.

Sandhu spent last year playing between the Douglas College Royals and ICST Pegasus in the VMSL and even though he’s training less, Sandhu feels like his game is improving.

He thinks he’s a much bigger threat on the pitch now than he was in years past, which he said is due to having his first job.

“I feel more responsible now. For some reason, I think it’s helped me on the field,” Sandhu said. “I’m training less, but I’m playing better.”

The Sandhu family owns The Fox and Fiddle pub in Cloverdale, and the Pegasus star is working there as a bartender.

He said he’s always focused on soccer throughout his life, but now that he has more responsibility, he sees more production in his play.

Sandhu currently leads the league with eight goals in seven games, but player-coach Paul Bahia said he is much more than a goal scorer.

The team has scored 24 goals and Bahia said he’s set up many goals.

Bahia, who is also the technical director of Surrey Football Club, said he can see the positive transformation Sandhu is going through.

“I just feel like he’s maturing as a person, which is helping him on the field,” said Bahia. “Anytime you mature off the field, it relates to what you do on the field.”

The player-coach added that Sandhu still hasn’t hit his prime yet and there is more to come from him in the future.

“He’s just going to get better and better,” Bahia said. “It’s exciting to see because he’s an exciting player, the most exciting player in the league for sure. But it’s good to see him turn that excitement into production.”

Bahia, who is also the coach of the Douglas Royals, said Sandhu should be playing at a higher level and shouldn’t be playing amateur anymore, but noted the difficulty in landing a pro contract.

Sandhu was one of B.C.’s top youth prospects representing the national team at the under-15 and under-17 levels. He also spent time playing in Europe with professional soccer clubs.

The 2007 B.C. Soccer Association Male Youth Player of the Year has played with Energie Cottbus in the third tier of German professional soccer and has also gone on trial with FC Twente in Holland.

He was also part of the Whitecaps youth team that won the 2004 USL Super Y-League North American Championship in Orlando, Florida. Sandhu scored the winning goal in the final against Schulz Academy.

He also won the USL U-20 Surper Y-League Northwest title and league championship with Surrey FC’s Y-League team, Revolution FC in 2010.

Currently, ICST Pegasus is the only undefeated VSML team with a 9-0-0 record. With 13 games remaining, Sandhu said he wants to break the individual 26-goal record come February, but added that he’d much rather win a provincial title, something Pegasus hasn’t done since 2011.

For more information on the VMSL or for weekly updates, visit Vmslsoccer.com.

kyle.benning@gmail.com

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