Shaping future Caps talent

As part of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency coaching staff, Steve Meadley is helping to shape the future of the group’s young players.The English-born coach joined the program as assistant to Residency head coach and managing director Thomas Niendorf back in early September, with Irish-born Joe Martin taking on the role of Residency team manager.Over the past six weeks, all three men have seen the program’s inaugural group of players come to grips with the rigorous daily schedule of training and schooling. Meadley admits the first few weeks were a challenge for the youngsters. “They looked a little tentative and nervous in their surroundings, as a few of them are away from home,” Meadley told “However, they’ve come out and looked comfortable every day. They are a good group and enjoy being together. I’m sure they are enjoying the coaching and everything else they are getting right now, so things are on the up every day.”Meadley’s involvement as a Whitecaps coach has been extensive in recent years. He has helped out with the club’s reserve team, as well as coached Whitecaps Super Y-League and Prospects teams. This past summer, Meadley served as U-16 Boys head coach for Mountain WFC in the Super Y-League. Though Meadley has coached some talented players at those levels, he admits that Whitecaps Residency is an entirely different program. “The boys we have here now are the next level on from where we were at with our Super Y-League teams,” he said. “These boys are very committed to the cause here, they have bought into the program and you can see that they want this. They all have the potential of becoming good young pros.”Born and raised in Leeds, West Yorkshire, Meadley knows first-hand the kind of standards that are being applied by both himself and Niendorf in the Residency program. Before moving to Canada, Meadley was involved with his hometown club in English giants Leeds United. “As a younger kid, I was involved at Leeds United’s youth academy, so this program is certainly following that path,” he revealed. “They are getting a full load with the two sessions a day for five or six days a week right now. They are training just like any kid at a top pro club in Europe, South America, or anywhere.”After an intense training spell at the Whitecaps Training Centre on the campus of Simon Fraser University, the Residency group have now flown to Germany for a two-trip that involves a challenging six-game schedule against youth sides from top Bundesliga clubs like Bayern Munich, 1860 Munich, and VfB Stuttgart. Meadley expects the Residency group to take a lot away from their brief spell in Europe. “It’s going to be a massive challenge for sure, but they are going to learn a lot and that’s the big thing for them,” he said. “The idea is that they come away from this experience with a portfolio full of learning. They’re going to pick up things that they haven’t seen before like the experience of playing in Europe, as well as the physical part of the game that they probably haven’t seen much of around here.” will keep you up to date on the latest results and happenings of the Residency’s trip to Germany.