Okanagan Whitecaps appoint Bennett


Vancouver Whitecaps FC and British Columbia Soccer Association (BCSA) Super Y-League affiliate; Okanagan WFC, have appointed former Whitecaps and Canadian national team player and coach Chris Bennett as technical director, and Geoff Greenwell as general manager for the 2009 Super Y League season.

A former Canadian international, and an original member of the Whitecaps, Bennett has over twenty years of coaching experience, with many years at the international level. This includes over 12 years with the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) as an assistant to the U-20 men's national team, an interim coach of the senior national team, and 11 years as a coach at the CSA High Performance Centre.

Bennett led the Whitecaps Women to their first-ever United Soccer League’s (USL) W-League championship title in 2004, and in 2006, he coached the Whitecaps Men's reserve team. In 2007, he earned a place in the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

As a player, Bennett earned nine caps with the Canadian national team and spent time with famed English club Chelsea FC. He also played several years in the North American Soccer League (NASL), starting with the Whitecaps.

He is currently serving as a technical director of the South Okanagan Youth Soccer Association (SOYSA), and coaching the Glenfir School Academy in Summerland.

Bennett will oversee all the Super Y-League technical operations of Okanagan WFC, including the selection and monitoring of coaches, scouting and player development.

"I want to thank SOYSA for bringing me into the Okanagan," said Bennett. "I look forward to continuing my work with SOYSA, and to now expand my role through the Okanagan region as Okanagan WFC Super Y technical director, where I hope to provide more opportunities for youths as part of Super Y throughout the Okanagan."


Geoff Greenwell is well known to the Okanagan soccer community, as he is the vice-chair of the Central Okanagan Youth Soccer Association (COYSA), chairman of Lake Country Soccer Club, and league administrator for the Okanagan Valley Over-35 Men's League. He is also a BCSA referee and referee assessor. Greenwell was born in the UK and moved to Canada in 1992 after years working in the Middle East and Africa in the global energy business. Geoff works as a strategic planner/ facilitator for Fortune 500 companies, governments, and First Nations. He’s played the game for over 40 years and is a passionate advocate of the sport.

Greenwell will bring his strategic planning experience and enthusiasm for the game to Okanagan WFC and will help promote the Super Y club throughout the Okanagan.

"Soccer is my passion," said Greenwell. "I look forward to blending this passion with my experience in business, to help make a difference for players in the Okanagan."

Bennett and Greenwell will start work immediately by assembling a coaching staff and attending select try-outs in Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton, Salmon Arm, and Kamloops, as well as the final weekend of the Thompson Okanagan Youth Soccer League (TOYSL) on October 4 and 5 in Penticton. This will be followed by a Super Y Day evaluation on October 25 at Beasley Park in Lake Country.

The Whitecaps and BCSA will also attend Super Y Day October 25 for evaluation of Super Y-League, Whitecaps FC and BCSA provincial team programs. This is another new collaborative effort to provide an opportunity for local Okanagan players to "get noticed". All interested players, whether attending regional select evaluation or not, are encouraged to register online for the Okanagan WFC Super Y-League evaluations on October 25th.

For more information and registration, visit www.okanaganwfc.com or email info@okanaganwfc.com


BACKGROUNDER

Vancouver Whitecaps FC, in partnership with the British Columbia Soccer Association (BCSA), are officially transitioning the Thompson Okanagan Super Y-League team to a new Whitecaps BCSA Super Y-League affiliate model, Okanagan WFC (Okanagan Whitecaps Football Club), for the 2009 season.

After holding recent regional meetings, Okanagan WFC will operate as a partnership between Central Okanagan Youth Soccer Association (COYSA), North Okanagan Youth Soccer Association (NOYSA), South Okanagan Youth Soccer Association (SOYSA), and Shuswap Youth Soccer Association (SYSA). Discussions are also taking place with Kamloops Youth Soccer Association (KYSA). A board is being appointed with membership from each youth association to help guide the implementation of the new club.

"The Whitecaps and BCSA are very respectful of the work that has been done most recently by Kelowna United on the Super Y-League program. Our goal is to help enhance and grow the program by creating a partnership that provides even greater opportunities for Okanagan players, and benefits the Thompson Okanagan region as a whole by connecting it to a larger vision as part of the Whitecaps FC network and the BCSA's regional District Development Centre model,” said Whitecaps director of youth development Dan Lenarduzzi.

"We’re very excited to work with our partners, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, on the latest addition to the WFC Super Y-League affiliate program. We hope to create the same synergy of partnership and governance with our member associations and clubs in the Thompson Okanagan that has occurred with our current WFC affiliates in other areas of BC,” BCSA executive director Bjorn Osieck.

For more information contact

Geoff Greenwell at gm@okanaganwfc.com – Okanagan WFC General Manager
Dan Lenarduzzi at dlenarduzzi@whitecapsfc.com – Whitecaps Youth Director
Dante Zanatta at dantezanatta@bcsoccer.net – BCSA Staff Coach