Over the last couple weeks, three young men have made decisions to take their sports careers to the next level. Matthew Brandsma, Nils Haeni and Jonas Haeni have all grown up in the dairy business, participated in their local 4-H clubs and been successful members of their provincial Western Canadian Classic (WCC) teams. They have now each committed to playing sports they love at the next level of competition!
Matthew Brandsma, Volleyball
Matthew Brandsma, Cobble Hill, BC, is the 2nd son of Jim and Darlene (Wikkerink) Brandsma, and part of the Willswikk Holsteins family. Matt will be graduating from Duncan Christian Secondary (DCS) in a couple weeks and has recently committed to joining the men’s volleyball team at Dordt College in Sioux Centre, IA, this fall! At 6’4, Matt has had experience playing all positions on the volleyball court, a sport he began in Grade 6. Matt has had an impressive career with the DCS Chargers, both in volleyball and basketball, claiming MVP and various All-Star awards from the local to the provincial level.
While at Dordt College, Matt will enroll in the Pro-Tech Program, a vocation training program that offers hands on experience in Farm Management & Operations. The relatively new program offers a wide variety of topics to students from Animal Nutrition and Husbandry to Farm Welding and Soil Science. “I chose Dordt because I was excited about the opportunity to play volleyball and do a trades course,” said Matt, “it’s a unique course where I spend 3 days in the classroom and 2 days doing a paid internship each week.” Once his program is completed, Matt plans to return back to Vancouver Island and work at the family farm.
Nils Haeni, Football
Nils Haeni, has been playing football for the past 8 years as a Defensive End, and will be graduating from Didsbury High School at the end of June. He is very excited to have been recently signed by the VI Raiders Football Club in Nanaimo, BC. The VI Raiders have been part of the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) since 2005. In their 13 seasons, the team has won 9 BC Football Club (BCFC) Championships and 3 National Titles, an unprecedented run off success in a short amount of time. “I’m really excited to be a part of the Raiders organization,” says Nils, “they have a talented team, excellent coaches and they run their program extremely well.” Nils is taking a year off of school to focus on work and football but hopes to transfer into a University program after that. “Football is the love of my life and I hope to make career out of it!”
Jonas Haeni, Football
Jonas Haeni has been playing football since he was 14 years old. He started playing both Quarterback and Linebacker but found that the Linebacker position was more of a natural position for him. He is very excited to have just signed with the Calgary Colts Football Club! The Colts have a rich history of Junior Football in the city of Calgary and have been part of the CJFL since the 1960’s. Part of the 6-team Prairie Football Conference, the Colts enjoy playing at McMahon Stadium which is also home to the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. Over 30 of the Calgary Colts alumni have gone on to have careers in professional football.
Jonas graduated from Didsbury High School in 2016 and has spent the last two years playing for the Kamloops Broncos organization in the BC Junior Football League. When he joins the Colts this fall, Jonas will also be enrolling at Olds College in the Agriculture Management program. “The Colts program allows me to continue with football while working on the farm part-time and attending Olds College,” says Jonas. “The Colts have a new coaching staff and a lot of young players, so I’m sure we’ll be a hard-working team looking to prove ourselves.” Jonas plans to return to the family farm full time eventually, but if football offers arise from any University organizations or even the CFL, he says he’ll likely pursue them because “you can only play sports for so long!” Both Nils and Jonas are sons of Adrian and Vreni Haeni of Lone Pine Jerseys in Didsbury, AB.