Victoria Highlanders FC are pleased to announce the signings of Shun Takano, Kensho Ando, and Connor Guilherme, Pending League and Federation Approval. The midfielders and defender are the latest additions to join Thomas Niendorf’s 2019 USL League Two squad.
Takano, of Chiba, Japan, who was the 2017 Canadian College Athletic Association (CCAA) MVP joins the Highlanders after a lengthy trial with Canadian Premier Leagues Pacific FC. Takano, who helped the VIU Mariners win the 2017 CCAA National Championship will be an integral part of the Highlanders midfeld in 2019. Takano has already gained many accolades in his collegiate career earning 2016 PACWEST Player of the year, 2016 PACWEST 1st team league All-Star, 2016 VIU Mariner Freshmen Athlete of the year, and 2017 PACWEST League All-Star. 2018 saw the 24-year-old suit up for the Mid Isle Mariners of the Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL) where he finished with a team-high five goals.
“Shun is a quality technical midfielder who will provide us with many intangibles throughout the 2019 season,” stated Highlanders Head Coach Thomas Niendorf. “He is a creative player who has the ability to change the game and this will be of added value to us as we look to create opportunities within the game.”
Ando, meanwhile, joins the Highlanders after a partnership agreement with Japanese professional club Grulla Morioka. Grulla play in the J3 League and in late January the Highlanders made an affiliation agreement to partner with the club on player exchanges. Ando was the first recommended player based on this partnership and joins the Highlanders after a successful season with Keio University in Japan. The Tokyo born player is a creative attacking midfielder that will add depth and technical awareness to the Highlanders team in 2019
“Kensho has high technical abilities that are clear to see throughout our preseason,” stated Niendorf. “The physicality of the North American game will be an interesting test for Kensho as he looks to build his game. He is young, dynamic and extremely skilled at the feet. We look forward to what he can contribute to the team moving forward.”
Guilherme, an Uxbridge, Ontario native, joins the black and gold from the Vancouver Whitecaps U23 Development team. The 23-year old is coming off a spectacular season with the UBC Thunderbirds that saw him capture his second straight Canada West Championship and being named a Second Team All-Canadian. Starting 19 of his squad’s 20 games in 2018, Guilherme scored five goals while racking up 1712 minutes played on the pitch. He also has experience at the USL League Two level having spent the 2018 season with North West Division rivals TSS Rovers.
“We had the opportunity to watch Connor play when our U-19 team played against the Whitecaps U-23 team in March,” stated Niendorf. “Connor will add a great deal of experience and leadership to our backline. He’s technically sound and is very sharp and composed while in possession. It will definitely add another element to the style of soccer we want to play.”
The Highlanders kick off their season at home against Lane United FC tonight, with a 7:00 p.m. kickoff at Centennial Stadium.