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Salback to play pro soccer in Ukraine

Ontario Tech Ridgebacks soccer star Fadi Salback has signed a professional contract to play in the Ukraine. (Photo by Allan Fournier, Ontario Tech Athletics)

Ontario Tech freshman athlete of the year and U SPORTS All-Rookie Fadi Salback has signed a professional soccer contract with FC Podillya Khmelnytskyi in the Ukraine.

Salback earned several provincial and national accolades during his freshman year at Ontario Tech University. The first-year forward was an offensive force throughout the season, leading the entire OUA in goal scoring with 16 goals in 14 games. From his strong play, Salback captured the OUA rookie of the year, the first time a male soccer player from Ontario Tech has earned the award.

He was also recognized as an east division first team all-star.

It was not just within the OUA that Salback was successful, as his goal output also paced all players across Canada, leading to his being named to the U SPORTS all-rookie team.

This was the first time a male soccer player from Ontario Tech was recognized nationally.

“Playing in U SPORTS definitely gave me the confidence that I need,” says Salback. “Through the school’s constant support and belief in me, it helped me achieve being the top goal scorer in Canada, which for a striker is a huge boost of confidence. It makes you believe that you are special. And none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the president, athletics staff, teammates and coaches.”

Although his play on the field with the Ridgebacks may have helped with landing the contract, his soccer club FC Vorkuta, which is mostly Ukranian players, helped make the connection with FC Podillya Khmelnytskyi.

“FC Vorkuta has given me so much love and belief, they saw real potential in me and I am forever grateful for everything they have done for me,” he says. “None of this would have been possible without the hard work of everyone from Vorkuta. Teammates, as well as management, they are more than a club that I played for – they will forever be a part of my family. They are an example of what many clubs in Canada should strive to achieve, a club that feels like a home.”

Salback may be playing professional soccer now, but he is continuing his software engineering degree via distance. Where he is located is seven hours ahead of Oshawa, meaning there has been an adjustment to working class into his new routine.

“Most of my classes are in the evening Ontario time, which means my classes are between 22:00-1:30 (in the Ukraine),” he said. “If it means staying up late to finish my degree then I will because it is important to me and my family that I continue my education.”