OXNARD, California – Trying to break into the first team of a professional soccer club can be a rough experience, but luckily for Kyle Porter, this isn’t his first attempt.
Porter started his climb with the Whitecaps FC Residency program when he was 17 years old, working hard to refine his skills and become a more polished player. Before long, he earned himself a trial with German club FC Energie Cottbus and landed on the club’s U-19 Junior Bundesliga squad. By the end of season, he'd moved up to the Cottbus reserve team.
Things weren’t all rosy for the young prospect, though, as he found out that life as a professional player is a tough business.
“The second season was real hard,” said Porter. “I was coming off of a good season, but I wasn’t getting the playing time that I was looking for. That was one of the biggest learning experiences as a footballer, just how to cope with that.”
The Toronto, Ontario, native returned to Whitecaps FC midway through last season and demonstrated that he’s matured since his time with the Residency program. The 20-year-old played in all four matches during the USSF D-2 Pro League playoffs, starting the last match of the season in the semifinals against Puerto Rico Islanders. He’s carried that strong play into offseason camp, scoring a pair of goals in the club’s intrasquad match on Sunday.
“The qualities of Kyle are very intriguing because he’s technically very good and his speed is great,” said head coach Teitur Thordarson of Porter. “When he manages to get these things working together, he’s a dangerous player. He’s tactically getting better and better, learning the runs that we want him to do. We saw a lot of that today and it was very good.”
Porter, who turns 21 next month, recently participated in training camp with the Canadian U-23 national team along with Whitecaps FC teammates Phillipe Davies, Ethan Gage, and Randy Edwini-Bonsu. He felt that he performed well during the camp, scoring in two of the team’s friendly matches.
“I thought it was one of my best camps ever with the national team,” he stated. “I showed real well and we had great trainings. I was able to showcase my talents.”
The attack-minded Canadian knows what he needs to do to earn a place on the Whitecaps FC MLS roster and hopes that his past experiences will help him stick with the team when they hit the field in March.
“I think that I just have to continue to be more aggressive attacking and defending, continue to press, and just continue to score goals,” declared Porter. “It would be amazing, Vancouver’s like my second home now, so to make the team would be an honour.”