The Vancouver Whitecaps are on an upswing, says Bob Lenarduzzi, and local kids can be a part of it.
The province’s top soccer club is holding a youth camp in Nanaimo Sept. 6-7.
The camp is the latest development in a long relationship between the Whitecaps and the Hub City. Lenarduzzi – now the team’s director of soccer operations – remembers when he and teammate Phil Parks visited Vancouver Island right after the Whitecaps’ North American Soccer League championship in 1979.
“I thought we’d be coming over there to meet a few people, but it was essentially another mini parade in Nanaimo and I thought, ‘Wow,’” Lenarduzzi said.
The upcoming Nanaimo camp could identify future champions. Players of all skill levels are encouraged to participate, but there may be perks for the very best athletes.
“We’re … looking to identify the better younger players, and as a result, perhaps getting them involved with training in Vancouver with the Whitecaps,” said Lenarduzzi.
Boys and girls ages 7-16 can participate. The youths will work with various coaches on a rotating basis throughout the weekend, and each day will end with a mini tournament.
The Whitecaps have been holding regional youth camps around the province for years, and always get a terrific response, Lenarduzzi said.
“We’re encouraging the parents of kids to get them enrolled fairly early to make sure they don’t miss out,” he said.
The camp will run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. both days at Beban Park’s Gyro Youth Sports Fields. To register, please visit www.nanaimosoccer.ca or call 250-729-9400.