He set a standard that will be hard to match on the soccer pitch and is now part of a special group of UNBC athletes.
Today (Thursday), the Timberwolves athletic department inducted Francesco Bartolillo, into the Wall of Honour.
A graduate of St. Francis High School in Calgary, Bartolillo had refined his game at the National Training Centre as a teenager, before deciding where he would continue his soccer journey at the university level.
In his freshman season, Bartolillo didn’t take long to impact the Timberwolves, displaying poise and ball skills in the midfield, and starting all eleven games he appeared in.
According to his friend and teammate Tofa Fakunle, Bartolillo displayed the skills that would eventually set him apart from so many who donned the green and gold.
“He loved to create opportunities for others. He loved having the ball at his feet and he was so creative, he would try things that some may not even think to do. I really admired that about his game and wish I had some of his instincts to try things. I remember asking him to come to Prince George, and I never thought he would. It was about building something.”
Off the pitch, Bartolillo also started to establish himself as a wonderful leader in the community, leading fundraising efforts and creating opportunities for all UNBC student-athletes to contribute to the Northern BC community.
According to UNBC Athletic Director Loralyn Murdoch, the sophomore from Calgary was rounding into the ideal example of a student-athlete.
“Fran came to UNBC as a soccer player, but there was a side to him we didn’t know about. An amazing passion to lead his peers and to give back to the community. He would seek out UNBC staff and students, and he was relentless with his passion projects. He always stepped up to every challenge, and he was instrumental in bringing all the student-athletes from the four teams together. He was a voice for the students internally, and in the community.”
Bartolillo found another gear on the pitch in 2016. The TWolves set program highs in goals, wins, and points, with Bartolillo leading the way.
Starting all 16 games, he had five goals, four assists, and nine points, cracking the Canada West top-ten in scoring.
In 2017, the TWolves had elevated themselves to a program not to be taken lightly at the Canada West level.
To his credit, Bartolillo took on a more defensive role in the midfield, with an eye on cracking the conference playoffs.
The move paid off as the Timberwolves set program records in goals, wins, and points, and qualified for the CW playoffs for the first time in program history.
Bartolillo’s senior season was memorable for a number of reasons.
He started all 15 games, and set team records for goals with six, and points with 10, finishing top-ten in Canada West in goals, assists, and points.
The Timberwolves also finished with the first winning season in program history, and Bartolillo made some history of his own.
On top of passing Fakunle for most goals in program history, he earned the Canada West Student-Athlete Community Service Award, before becoming the first Timberwolf to earn a major U SPORTS hardware, earning the National Student-Athlete Community Service Award.
Bartolillo concluded his career top-two in the program’s history in games, starts, goals, assists, points, shots, and game-winning goals.