Byrana Buttar and Jehmrode Kahlon have an awful lot in common.
They both hail from Abbotsford. They’re both students (and members of the soccer academy) at Abbotsford Senior Secondary. And they’re both considered among the very best soccer prospects in the province.
As of this week, their parallel lives share one more similarity: They’ve both signed with the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades for the fall of 2019. Buttar will suit up for the women’s soccer program, Kahlon for the men, and they’re each considered among the most significant signings in the history of their respective programs.
5’4” midfielder, Abbotsford B.C.
Abbotsford Senior Secondary
Buttar’s highly decorated youth soccer career was highlighted by a stint representing Canada back in 2014. She was part of the national U15 squad for the CONCACAF championship in the Cayman Islands, helping Team Canada win the gold medal.
Buttar was also a member of Team B.C. from U13 through U18, and was part of the Whitecaps Girls Elite program from Grade 8 through Grade 10. This past season, she helped her Surrey United U17 girls squad – coached by Cascades men’s bench boss Tom Lowndes – win the EA Sports BC Soccer Premier League (BCSPL) championship. Next week, they participate in the U17 national championship at South Surrey Athletic Park.
Buttar drew interest from universities across Canada and south of the border, but her familiarity with both Lowndes and Cascades women’s head coach Rob Giesbrecht – who has coached her throughout her time at the Abby Middle/Abby Senior soccer academy – made it a natural decision to sign with her hometown Cascades.
“I’ve known Rob since Grade 6, so it feels like home playing here,” said Buttar. “I’m excited to play with all the girls.”
“Bryana is right up there with the top kids we’ve ever brought in,” Giesbrecht enthused. “She’s made for university soccer. She’s competitive, she’s physical, she’s a warrior, and she’s very intelligent as well. I could play her at a variety of positions, and I could see her excelling. Her physical investment and competitive toughness are the traits that are going to help us the most. She’s a young woman of great character – I can see her as a future leader in our program. She has a passion for excellence, and relentlessly pursues it.”
5’10” forward, Abbotsford B.C.
Fraser Valley FC
Abbotsford Senior Secondary
Kahlon, in similar fashion, has a sparkling youth soccer resumé. He’s been part of the B.C. provincial team program from U13 all the way through U18, and he helped the Fraser Valley zone squad win gold at the 2014 BC Summer Games. In 2016 with his Fraser Valley FC club side, he was named MVP as his team won the BCSPL championship. At the ensuing U14 national championships in Moncton, NB, Kahlon scored nine goals in five games to earn the Golden Boot, and his team took home the silver medal. Kahlon’s club squad has made it back to the BCSPL final each of the past two years.
Kahlon has also played part-time with the Vancouver Whitecaps residency program, and he’s twice been selected for Canadian U15 team camps.
Beyond the soccer pitch, Kahlon owns a black belt in taekwondo, and he’s a very good student who plans to pursue a science degree at UFV.
“I feel like UFV meets my academic needs, and the team has a bright future,” he said. “There were a lot of good recruits last year, and this year again. We have a chance to win Canada West and U SPORTS championships. You’ve got to have high expectations.”
“He’s one of the top recruits we’ve ever signed,” Lowndes said. “He’s had a really good youth career, highly touted and highly successful. He’s a game-changer, and we’re really excited to have him commit to us.
“He’s strong, powerful, and can finish. He goes box-to-box, and he’s a great one-v-one attacker. He’s got great vision, and he’s a gamer. He’s just a quality player.”