Whitecaps FC launch Kamloops Academy Centre

Vancouver 86ers alum John Antulov named regional head coach

VANCOUVER, BC –  Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today the launch of a new Whitecaps FC Kamloops Academy Centre in partnership with Kamloops Youth Soccer Association (KYSA).

“We’re very pleased to launch this academy centre in Kamloops and really appreciate the opportunity to partner with KYSA,” said Dan Lenarduzzi, Whitecaps FC director of soccer development. “Whitecaps FC recognize the great work that KYSA have done in the community and we are excited to be working together to grow the game in the region and provide further opportunities."

Whitecaps FC Academy Centres are a network of regional training hubs linked through key staff, curriculum, and standards that provide professional supplemental club training for serious, motivated players. Whitecaps FC now have a network of seven academy centre locations, including the new Kamloops Academy Centre, Vancouver Island, Vancouver, the Okanagan, the Kootenays, the Northern Academy Centre, and the Saskatchewan Academy Centre – the first such centre outside of British Columbia.

“As we expand our academy centres, we have the ability to bring together programs from different locations for joint training and competitive opportunities for both players and staff,” noted Lenarduzzi. “Our Whitecaps FC Academy Centre programs are positioned to be complementary to our main scouting vehicle, the EA SPORTS BC Soccer Premier League (BCSPL) – the high performance league established with our development partner BC Soccer – which includes the Thompson Okanagan Football Club.”

KYSA is the largest youth sports association in Kamloops.  There are over 3,600 boys and girls, ages four to eighteen, registered for indoor and outdoor programs this year.  For more information on the association  visit  www.kysa.net

“Our partnership with Whitecaps FC is a great fit for our association,” said Keith Liddiard, KYSA executive director. “We are looking forward to working together to bring additional benefits to players and coaches in our association and the community in general.”

The Kamloops Academy Centre will be led by John Antulov, and overseen by Whitecaps FC Pre-Residency and Academy Centre head coach Bart Choufour. Antulov will work closely with KYSA to ensure Whitecaps FC and KYSA programs are collaborative and supportive of one another. Born and raised in Kamloops, Antulov – a Canadian Soccer Association ‘A’ license coach – is currently in his sixth season as co-head coach of the Thompson Rivers University men’s soccer program. In his playing days Antulov was a member of Vancouver 86ers in 1990 and 1991, where he was coached by current Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi.

“Following my playing career in Vancouver, it has always been a dream of mine to come back and coach with the club,” said Antulov.  “I’m very excited to take on the role of regional head coach with the Whitecaps FC Kamloops Academy Centre, and to do this in the city I was born and raised makes it even more special.

Whitecaps FC Kamloops Academy Centre programs will launch in April with a 10-week spring Prospects Academy.  This will be an abbreviated phase limited to four age groups: U-12/13, U-14/15, and U-16/18 boys, in addition to a U-12/13 girls group.  Programming will be integrated for U-9 to U-18 boys and girls in the fall. Players must be evaluated and selected to join the Prospects Academy. 

Evaluations will take place on Monday, April 7 with U-12/13 boys from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and U-14/15 boys from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Friday, April 11, evaluations for U-12/13 girls will run from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and for U-16/18 boys from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. All evaluations will take place at Exhibition Field.  Interested players need to register for the evaluation at whitecapsfc.com/academy – select Kamloops Academy.    

Selected players will begin training the following week with the U-12/13 and U-14/15 boys on Monday evenings, and the U-12/13 girls and U-16/18 boys on Friday evenings. All training will be at Valleyview Centennial Park. The Prospects Academy program will include local training, visits from Vancouver staff, as well as an academy trip to watch an MLS match at BC Place and opportunities for select players to train in Vancouver.

In addition to academy programs, Whitecaps FC are planning a summer Prospects Camp. More details will be made available at whitecapsfc.com/camps.

For more information on Whitecaps FC Kamloops Academy Centre programs and evaluation registration please visit  whitecapsfc.com/academy  and select the Kamloops Academy Centre.

Local interview requests or questions can be directed to John Antulov at 250.319.1539.