Soccer star hits Europe - Cochrane Eagle

Cochrane soccer star Ethan Gage has taken another step in his professional career. By: Rachel Maclean Gage, who plays for the Vancouver Whitecaps, was given permission by his team to try to make his mark in the European soccer scene. “I’ve just been feeling the need to get to Europe,” said Gage from Frankfurt, Germany. “Because Europe is where soccer is at.” On Aug. 20 he had been to two practices with the German team already. “It’s a good club,” he said. “Very well organized. They know what they are doing.” As Gage tries to make the team he also knows in the back of his mind that the U-23 team is the reserves for the men’s professional team for the same club. “Every club has a pro team,” he said. “It’s the teams you watch on TV.” Gage, who moved to Cochrane at age eight, said there are many local coaches who had a big impact on his playing. Traditionally he plays as a defender/midfielder. He heads to Germany following a successful rise to the Whitecaps men’s team from the club’s residency program. He made his men’s team debut at 17 when he came in as a substitute in August 2008. Gage slowly climbed his way into the starting spot for the semi-finals and finals at last year’s United Soccer Leagues First Division Championship, which the Whitecaps won. This season, Gage played a prominent role on the men’s team, having made 21 appearances and 12 starts. He scored his first-ever men’s team goal May 27, and his match-winning strike gave the Whitecaps a 1-0 home win over Montréal in the Canadian championship. Although there are only seven games left in the Whitecaps season, the club decided to let Gage have a shot at the pros. “It seems like a good opportunity for him,” said Greg Anderson, director of professional teams for the Whitecaps. Anderson said after the trial wraps up Aug. 28 both clubs will decide what the next step will be — either he will come back to finish off the Whitecaps season or join the Germany club. As for the Whitecaps’ season, Anderson said they have a player filling Gage’s spot, but he is missed. “Ethan is a young player who works hard,” said Anderson. “When playing his best he is a very strong mid-field player.” Anderson said Gage is physically strong and not phased by a jump to the next level.