Right now, our Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency program is in the process of moving to our new training facility at UBC as part of the National Soccer Development Centre (NSDC). As part of that, our players will need billet families in the UBC area, which is a crucial part of their development.
If you’re interested in becoming a billet home for a future ‘Caps star, I strongly encourage you to do so, and here’s why.
My adventure away from home
I was 20-years-old when I first moved to Vancouver in 1979. It was a big step for me at that time. Before coming here, I was still living at home with my Mum and Dad and four sisters back in England, so this was a huge adventure for me.
My first couple of years I had a really good roommate in Bruce Grobbelar and we really hit it off right from the start, as he too had just moved here from South Africa.
But what made moving to Vancouver easier for both of us was being adopted, metaphorically, by the Colclough family. Marge and Norman had two kids, Nigel and Karen, who lived in a beautiful home in Burnaby and they were big Whitecaps fans. In fact, Marge worked with the Whitecaps on game days. Bruce and I were 21 and 20 and could of got into a lot of trouble or been home sick if it was not for the kindness and understanding of this wonderful family.
We would eat there more times a week than at our apartment, which meant that we were eating a lot healthier and kept focused on our job at hand, which was making the Whitecaps starting eleven. Even though we were in our 20s, we had the potential to make a number of bad decisions with no family members around to support us, but the Colclough family always were on the lookout for our best interests. We may not have realized this at the time, as you are living the dream as a young pro athlete, but having that family environment was extremely important to keep us grounded.
I realize now that I was quite smart as a youngster because in my third year in Vancouver I moved in with my adopted family to really experience that homely feeling. It was amazing to always feel like one of the family, which was so important, especially when things were not going well on the field.
Being so far away from your own family is tough as you are trying to make the grade at the top level and having a stable environment at home is extremely important for any young player, and from what Marge and Norman said it was very rewarding for them too.
If you too want to share in this experience, then sign up today to become a billet family at whitecapsfc.com/billet.