In the third edition of a five-part series looking back at Whitecaps FC's year in 2010, we review an interesting 12 months for the club's Residency program.
The main focus of the Whitecaps FC Residency program continues to be development and 2010 saw a number of success stories. This included first-team contributions from Residency graduates, as well as a number of players representing Canada on the international stage.
Seven members of the program earned time with the 'Caps men's team this year. They include former Residency captain Philippe Davies, who earned a regular starting position on the right wing. Davies also became the club's first homegrown player when he signed a Major League Soccer contract last November.
2010 also saw a record number of 14 current and former Residency players represent Canada throughout the season: U-17 - Bryce Alderson (U-17 Player of the Year), Yassin Essa, Matteo Pasquotti, Adam Polakiewicz, and Daniel Stanese; U-20 - Jerome Baker, Kevin Cobby, Ethan Gage (U-20 player of the Year), Julien Latendresse-Lévesque, and Russell Teibert; U-23 - Philippe Davies, Randy Edwini-Bonsu, Gage, Latendresse-Lévesque, and Kyle Porter; senior team - Edwini-Bonsu and Adam Straith.
It was also a year of change and transition for the Residency program, with new coaches and new players coming into the full-time program by the end of the year.
It was Miller that took the young 'Caps to Texas for their third appearance in the U-19 Super Group of the Dallas Cup. In 2009, the Residency side impressed many by reaching the Super Group final. Late March, however, proved more difficult, as the Residency side finished bottom of Bracket D following defeats to Germany's Eintracht Frankfurt and the youth national teams (91/92) of the United States and Mexico.
Next up was a third season in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL), with Craig Dalrymple taking over interim head coaching duties from Miller on May 7. It proved to be a difficult campaign for the Blue and White, as the Residency squad fought hard against significantly older teams to a sixth-place finish in the Northwest Division of the PDL's Western Conference after registering a 4W-9L-3D record. The competitiveness of the Northwest Division resulted in Portland Timbers U-23's ultimately winning the 2010 PDL title on August 7.
The end of the PDL season concluded the Residency's 2009-10 year. By the beginning of September, the Residency's 2010-11 season had a fresh look, with 14 new players joining the program from across Canada, including seven members of the U-17 national team. Then on November 3, Richard Grootscholten was named the new technical director and head coach of the Residency program. The Dutchman arrived in Canada with a successful track record of developing players during a five-year tenure at Dutch club Sparta Rotterdam.
Grootscholten was soon into his new role, as he travelled with the Residency squad to Guadalajara, Mexico, for a two-week November trip. Included in the team's schedule were six matches against youth sides from some of Mexico's top professional clubs like Estudiantes Tecos and Atlas de Guadalajara. The young 'Caps acquitted themselves well; winning half of the friendly games they played during the trip.
It was a promising start to the Grootscholten era, and with 2011 just around the corner, much will be expected from the promising young talent that the Dutchman will be guiding and developing in the year ahead.