It was a bittersweet ending to a university soccer career for Penticton’s Bret Depner with the UBC-Okanagan Heat.
In their final action of the season, and Depner’s final game of his career, the Heat were unable to muster up any offence as they fell 2-0 to the Victoria Vikes.
Heat seniors, Depner and Shaun Pilcher (Coquitlam), were honoured prior to the match for all that they have done for the Heat soccer program throughout their distinguished careers.
“Bret is the epitome of the USPORTS athlete. He has been able to play the sport that he loves at a high level and combine it with excellence in the classroom,” said coach Dante Zanatta, in a news release.
The Heat coaches said Depner was an extremely hard worker over the past four years.
“Bret has always put the team before his own goals as a player and we could not have asked for a better person to be involved with our group,” said coach Gary Graham.
Along with Picher, the Penticton soccer player was a key member of the defence that set the Canada West record of 685 consecutive scoreless minutes last fall. He named that as one of his USPORTS career highlights.
“The big one is two years ago it was against UVic, at Uvic, and we needed to win to make playoffs and it was tied 2-2 until the 89th minute or something and our player scored right at the end and we ended up winning 3-2 and made playoffs right there, that was probably a top moment. Also setting the record for six games without allowing a goal,” he said.
Depner will graduate in the spring with a degree in Engineering and was a model student, named to an Academic All-Canadian every season to date. He was also twice a finalist for Male Provost Award for Excellence (one semester) and twice a finalist for UBC Okanagan Student Athlete of the Year.
Depner played in 53 games for the Heat over his four seasons, including 45 starts. He plans on looking for work in his field of choice and hopes to continue to play soccer at a recreational level.
“It is kind of weird. It is weird to think about after 18 years, this is kind of the last big game, there is men’s league, but this is the last big one,” said Depner.
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