Saskatchewan Huskies goalkeeper Patrick Pranger is in Saskatoon for a good time, but not for a long time. The Austrian always wanted to do an exchange program, and this year the cards finally fell in his favour.
“I saw that the University of Saskatchewan had a soccer team and I applied for it, that made me come here,” exclaimed the 23-year-old during a practice on Field 7 of PotashCorp Park.
Pranger is only enrolled for one semester, but in that short time he’s helped the Huskies to a second place finish in the Prairie Division of the Canada West Conference.
“Overall, Patrick has kind of been that rock solid mature player behind us and you don’t feel nervous when things get busy around the net. With Patrick, he calms things down,” Huskies head coach Bryce Chapman noted.
“With his experience, he knows where he needs to be on the field at certain points, and he makes it look a lot easier than it actually is,” teammate Kyle Moore added.
Pranger has registered five shutouts with the Huskies this season. Thanks to those performances, the Huskies are hosting the Canada West quarter-final on Friday. But Pranger, whose first language is German, is still working on some of his English.
“When I’m going up for a cross, here I call keeper, but back home I say ‘meine’, like, ‘my ball,'” added Pranger, who was the USports athlete of the week after shutting out the defending national champions, the Alberta Golden Bears, in a 0-0 draw.
“A lot of the time he asks for clarification on what word the word I’m saying is. Today, I said, ‘I’m drenched’, and he didn’t know what that meant,” Moore said with a laugh.
Given his short history with the team, one might question his commitment level, but he’s a Huskie through and through.
“The biggest motivation for me, is the team in the back here, because I know, we have a good team and we can achieve something,” said Pranger ahead of their game against the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack.
Saskatchewan lost to them 2-1 a month ago, but Pranger is motivated not to vindicate that loss, but because winning means he’ll spend just a few more weeks wearing a Huskies jersey.
The CanadaWest quarter-final begins at 1:30 p.m. Friday at PotashCorp Park.