Caps affiliates look back at 2007 season

With winter arrived and a New Year just around the corner, Vancouver Whitecaps affiliates Coastal WFC and Mountain WFC can reflect on what was a successful inaugural season.Unlike previous USL Super Y-League campaigns, the Whitecaps were represented by two newly-formed affiliate clubs in 2007, with eight boys and eight girls teams participating in the Pacific Northwest Division of the league’s Western Conference. Of the 16 teams that played in the U-13 to U-16 age groups, a record-tying six squads earned the right to play in the recent Super Y-League North American Finals in Tampa, Florida. Mountain WFC were well represented with four teams, while Coastal WFC sent their U-13 and U-15 Boys sides to the finals.For Coastal WFC technical director Colin Elmes, the trip to Tampa proved an important learning step for the club’s young players. “If you said to me that two of your eight teams would advance to Florida in November of this year, then I would have taken that,” Elmes told “We were really happy, considering this set-up was put together very quickly back in February and March. Anytime you qualify for an elite event in the United States, you always know that you have succeeded to some degree. I’ve been in enough elite-level youth tournaments in the southern US to know that we were going down there with our eyes wide open, and with somewhat of an expectation that this would be a bit of a soccer lesson. To a certain degree for our two teams, it was just that. Nonetheless, it was a very worthwhile event for our teams and our club management.”Elmes’ counterpart - Mountain WFC technical director Hubert Busby - was also delighted with his club’s presence in Florida. “It was a great experience,” Busby said. “The teams fared well on the field and competed with the very best of opponents, with one of our teams in the U-14 Boys making the semifinals. In fact, up to the last regular-season games, we had the possibility of actually qualifying seven or eight Coastal and Mountain teams for Florida. Considering the inadequate preparation time that we had this year, I think we did very well.”Elmes believes the league has plenty of growth potential from its existing structure. “One of the big appeals of this league is the travel into the US, and I think it would be far more appealing if there was a Portland and another Seattle club in our division, as it would bring out some more notoriety to what the Super Y is,” he said. “My hope is that Coastal teams can play 16 to 18 games per season from the 10 to 12 games they played in 2007. The league is looking at other potential additions including crossover games with the Pacific Northern California Division next year, and if that was to occur, it will add some excitement to what all of this is.”Of course, the main goal of the Super Y-League structure is player development. Busby is well aware of the kind of environment that is needed for top young talent to thrive. “You just never know what can occur once likeminded people get together and what players can do when they are put in good development environments,” he said. “We are trying to create that professional environment, both on and off the field, and that is only going to serve well for the most important aspect of this equation and that is the players.”Coastal WFC and Mountain WFC not only achieved success on the pitch, they were also recognized in the 2007 Super Y club rankings. Coastal earned a number-10 ranking among its fellow Super Y clubs, while Mountain were ranked as the third-best youth club in all of North America. “You have to give credit to every single person involved, both from the Whitecaps to the structure all the way down,” Busby said of Mountain’s number-three ranking. “You don’t achieve that sort of success in six months without everybody getting on board and getting the support to allow you to get on with the task, while providing the environment for these great young players.”Whitecaps director of youth development Dan Lenarduzzi sees a bright future ahead for the affiliate clubs. “We’re very pleased with both the on and off-field performance in this inaugural year by both our affiliates, Coastal WFC and Mountain WFC,” he said. “The Whitecaps congratulate both Coastal and Mountain on their inaugural Super Y-League seasons, and look forward to another successful year in 2008.”