Whitecaps Prospects head for LA

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Prospect teams are off to Los Angeles, January 3 to 6, to take on top California club Arsenal SC in a special exhibition series and compete in the Odyssey Cup.The Whitecaps are taking five Prospect teams - the U-12, U-13 and U-14 Girls and the U-13 and U-14 Boys – to southern California to participate in the Odyssey Cup tournament on January 5 & 6, 2008. As part of the trip, the Whitecaps have arranged an exhibition series against one the top-ranked and most respected clubs in the USA - Arsenal SC. In 2007, both Soccer America and gotsoccer.com recognized Arsenal SC as one of the top clubs in North America. At the recent Super Y-League North American finals in Florida, Arsenal SC won championship titles at the Boys U-14 and U-15 levels. In addition to the Arsenal match, the U-14 Girls will take on another top California club the SoCal Blues Soccer Club.The Odyssey Cup is hosted by the Force Soccer Club and is the only winter tournament that is held in the South Bay. Whitecaps teams will play up to four games in a tournament-style format against some top California teams over the weekend.You can get a team-by-team schedule preview and follow the results at whitecapsfc.com/youthCLICK HERE FOR THE WHITECAPS LA GAME CENTRE“The Odyssey Cup, and Arsenal exhibition series are key winter development components to the Whitecaps Prospects program,” said Whitecaps Youth Development director Dan Lenarduzzi. “In addition to Prospects training locally, having our players travel in a professional manner to experience challenges against top North American competition is important.“The south of California is one of the primary youth development regions in the United States, and we want to continue to develop a strong relationship with some of the top clubs and tournaments there,” adds Lenarduzzi.Boys Prospects head coach Bart Choufour is looking forward to this week’s trip. “It’s important to evaluate players in competitive situations against quality teams,” Choufour said. “We’ve played exhibition games here on the Lower Mainland, but it’s not against their peers because they have played against older players. This trip will give us a chance to see if our players respond to more challenges on their technique and tactical savvy.”Girls Prospects head coach Jesse Symons expects his three teams to face some quality opponents in Los Angeles. “The teams we will be facing are physically strong and quick, as well as being tactically smart on the pitch,” he said. “It gives us an opportunity to see what we have done with these players over the past three months in Prospects training. From an evaluation perspective, we can see how our players will fare in game-related situations.”For more information on the LA trip and Whitecaps Prospects, visit whitecapsfc.com/youth