Local teen named national soccer player of the year - The Niagara Falls Review
By Dan Dakin, Review Staff Writer
Niagara Falls teenager Russell Teibert has been named the top under-17 soccer player in Canada.
The 16-year-old midfielder who plays on Canada’s national junior team received 34.5 per cent of the votes from national team coaches and other coaches in the Canadian Soccer Association.
The CSA announced the award on its website Monday.
“National player of the year - it’s a big award and something I’m never going to forget,” he said from Vancouver Monday. “I thought putting on the national jersey was a big deal, but winning this award is something special.”
Teibert is part of the Canadian under-17 national team. He took part in the team's camp in November and started in four exhibition games in Mexico in November, scoring one goal and adding an assist.
He was a team captain for part of the trip.
After playing soccer in the Niagara Falls Soccer Club, Teibert played for Saltfleet in 2006 and then Clarkson in 2007.
But 2008 was a turning point in his young soccer career.
Teibert joined the Canadian Soccer Association's National Training Centre earlier in the year and then played for the Toronto Football Club's Under-16 development team.
However, in August, Teibert joined the residency program of the Vancouver Whitecaps, another professional team, and he traveled to Japan with the team last month.
As part of the program, Teibert practises and trains every day while attending school with his teammates.
“It has been a great experience. I feel like I’ve improved as a player 150 per cent,” he said.
In Niagara Falls, Teibert's parents were ecstatic to learn the news of their son's award.
"We're pretty proud of him," his father Uri Teibert said.
He said the decision to send Russell to Vancouver has worked out well.
"I think just the way the (Whitecaps) soccer program was set up, it was the right place for him," he said.
Despite the award, Russell Teibert said his goals and motivation in soccer are the same.
“It’s a big confidence booster, but I?have the same goals I had when I was a young kid: I want to play on the national team and I want to become a professional soccer player,” he said. “That’s what I have in mind and I know what I have to do to get there.”
Surrey, B.C.'s Monica Lam-Feist was the female under-17 player of the year.
With the under-17 player of the year awards announced Monday, the under-20 awards will be announced today and the overall Canadian Player of the Year awards will be announced later this week.