The highly anticipated Whitecaps FC Island Academy kicked off in Nanaimo, BC, last Monday, January 7, 2013. With the partnership between Whitecaps FC and Harbour City FC - Nanaimo's largest youth soccer club - coming together, the Island Academy officially began with nearly 60 children from U-9 to U-12 running through a series of skills training sessions at HCFC's Indoor Training Centre.
“The Island Academy kicked off on a cold night, but the enthusiasm of the players and coaches raised the temperature and made the inaugural session enjoyable to be part of and to observe," said Stuart Neely, Whitecaps FC head of high performance. "It is exciting for the local scene and for Whitecaps FC to have a positive presence on the island. The academy training provided will supplement training these players may already be receiving in other areas to help prepare them for higher levels of play”.
The academy launch continued on Wednesday, January 9 with a goalkeeper session led by Raegyn Hall (pictured), Whitecaps FC high performance goalkeeper coach. This session brought out young goalkeepers of all ages and levels pushing to improve their skills.
"For most of the keepers this was their first introduction to goalkeeper-specific training and overall we had a very enjoyable first session," said Hall. "We put them through a basic technical session of footwork, handling and diving. We incorporated a strength component and finished off the session with some 'keeper wars."
The ‘Caps announced the launch of the Whitecaps FC Island Academy
on November 28, 2012. The Island Academy will provide professional level training for players from a young age, with opportunities to ultimately move them forward into other elite programs and leagues such as the EA SPORTS BC Soccer Premier League and Whitecaps FC Residency and Girls Elite programs.
“This program will be of great benefit to the players of this region,” said Claude Bolton, Whitecaps FC Island Academy regional head coach. “Whitecaps FC are committed to sharing the game in an environment that is conducive to fun and learning, and to help reinforce and guide the professional approach to developing a player-centred program that carefully and best prepares players for the next challenge.”
Whitecaps FC Academy Centres are a network of regional Whitecaps FC training hubs linked through key staff, curriculum, and standards that provide professional supplemental club training for serious, motivated players. Other academies are located in Vancouver, the Okanagan, and the Kootenays, with future centres to be announced.