Comments on the announcement of the National Soccer Development Centre
Bob Lenarduzzi – president, Vancouver Whitecaps FC
“Within a year of Greg Kerfoot taking over the ownership of the club, his belief was that we needed a home base. Having our own training centre that has the capabilities to make it feel like home, from the point of view of a clubhouse and the privacy of our own training fields, is something we’ve never had.
“As we’ve seen in Europe, a training facility is a staple of any good club, and we’re now seeing in North America that MLS clubs are building their own training centres. Today’s announcement is a huge step in the growth of our club.”
Martin Rennie – Men’s team head coach, Vancouver Whitecaps FC
“It’s a really important step for the club to have their own home base, where we can train out of on a regular basis. We’ve not had a training ground before, so this is the next big step that we can make in the development of the club. It’s exciting for everyone.
“It’s also going to be an excellent initiative for soccer in British Columbia because it’s going to be a place where people from the community can play, as well as professionals. It gives us a chance to grow the game in this part of the world and across Canada, which is what we ultimately want to do.”
Jesse Symons – Women’s team & Girls Elite head coach, Vancouver Whitecaps FC
“To be integrated at the facility will fully enhance our program, from our youth players through to our senior women’s team. It will also create a club feel from the youth ranks all the way through to our senior men’s and women’s teams. This is definitely a huge positive and a step in the right direction to keep Whitecaps FC as one of the top clubs in North America.
“For players to know that we have a top facility available, it will not only attract players to come to Vancouver to play, but also create a hub for our youth players to understand that this is where they want to be, even as early as U-12 and U-13. It’s a big opportunity for us to create a full club model and establish more top local players on our senior team.”
Stuart Neely – head of player management & advancement, Vancouver Whitecaps FC
“This new training centre will be instrumental in the development of all players at Whitecaps FC. It’s an isolated training area that will allow players to continue their development from the pre-Residency level right up to the MLS squad. It brings everyone together under one roof - pre-Residency, Residency, and first team - and we can operate as one. This will also professionalize everything that we’re doing because of the regular access we will have to this facility. It’s a place we can call home.”
Mike Mosher – men’s soccer head coach, University of British Columbia Thunderbirds
“This will bring a closer connection between our program and the Whitecaps. The facilities that we use on the site of this new project will be upgraded, and hopefully, it will forge a further relationship for our program and other Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) soccer programs by giving them a bit more profile. There are some really good CIS programs across the country.
“From a professional development standpoint, to be close to where the Whitecaps will train and watch some of what they are doing - from their first team down to their youth teams - is a further benefit. It provides us with the opportunity to create a dialogue with the Whitecaps coaching staff and discuss various aspects about the game with them. With all of us under one roof, that could be the biggest plus.”
Mark Rogers - women’s soccer head coach, University of British Columbia Thunderbirds
“This announcement can only be positive, as it will have things centralized around where our program is. It’s an opportunity to work more closely with what the Whitecaps are doing. If you look at our women’s team roster, we have taken a keen interest in the Whitecaps youth development projects, and we’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of those players join us at UBC in the last number of years.
“It’s going to be a world-class facility and that will attract higher-level players, plus keep young Canadian players here at home, which will be an advantage to the Whitecaps and UBC in return. The Whitecaps will have the ability to monitor our players during their university careers and potentially bring them back into their women’s program in the summertime.”
Roger Barnes – president, BC Soccer
“120,000 people play soccer in BC - from five-year-olds to Olympic bronze medal winners. Having a National Soccer Development Centre in Vancouver will help players who dream of playing for Whitecaps FC and Canada, or who dream of playing for their BC community club until they are over 60. Great performances require great facilities. The National Soccer Development Centre will help players - from community soccer through to our national teams - develop their skills and passion for the game.”
Peter Delaney – president, Vancouver United FC
“It’s a very exciting opportunity. As a founding group, we helped build UBC’s varsity soccer turf fields, and we’ve been using those quite extensively. With this new project and the increase for more available soccer fields, it’s a great opportunity for our community club that has around 3,700 players and represents Vancouver’s west side. We hope it will also foster a stronger relationship with the elite level of the game that is mutually beneficial.”